Interminable Terraces of Faces
Just wanted to share this amazing excerpt from Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. He is reflecting on the way the early church crashed upon the stage of history like an immovable rock, as the Roman world began to take notice of these strange people that the pagans nick-named "Christians" (which means "little Christs").
"It was not just the strange story of the Christian message to which the Romans paid attention; people in that world had seen strange religions, enough to fill a madhouse. It was something in the tone of the madmen and their type of formation. They were a scratch company of barbarians and slaves and poor and unimportant people; but their formation was military; they moved together and were very absolute about who and what was really a part of their kingdom; and about what they said, however mildly, there was a ring like iron. Men used to hearing many mythologies and moralities could make no analysis of the mystery, except the curious conjecture that they meant what they said. All attempts to make them see reason seemed to be spoken to deaf men. It was as if a new meteoric metal had fallen on the earth; it was a difference of substance to the touch. Those who touched their foundation fancied they had struck a rock!
With a strange rapidity, like the changes of a dream, the proportions of things seemed to change in their presence. Before most men knew what had happened, these few Christians were palpably present. They were important enough to be ignored. People became suddenly silent about them and walked stiffly past them. We see a new scene, in which the world has drawn its skirts away from these men and women and they stand in the center of a great space like lepers. The scene changes again and the great space where they stand is overhung on every side with a cloud of witnesses, interminable terraces full of faces looking down towards them intently; for strange things are happening to them. New persecutions have been invented for the madmen who have brought good news. That sad and weary society seems almost to find a new energy in establishing its first religious persecution. Nobody yet knows very clearly why that level world has thus lost its balance about the people called "Christians" in its midst; but the Christians stand unnaturally still while the arena and the world seem to revolve round them. And there shone on them in that dark hour a light that has never been darkened..."