It was a fresh pleasantly chill Sunday morning, and I found myself in downtown Prague, hurriedly walking back to Old Town Square, to a place I knew all too well. It was the Baroque style cathedral of St. Nicholas’ off on the western side of the square. It is this church that has been returned to the Hussite Church since the former Hussite church, the great Tyn Cathedral, on the other side of the square, is Catholic again. I’d been in this church before, seen my fair share of concerts there, heaven knows I’d even sung in a choir there once, but I’d never been to a mass, nor had I ever been to a Hussite mass before. I walked in to the icy depths of the cathedral and realized the service had already begun. There in front was the priest, a woman, singing the opening hymn. She had an ever so beautiful voice, but I couldn’t help but notice it wasn’t what it probably once was. Age, sadly, destroys all, even beautiful voices. I quickly found a seat and soon realized the average age of the onlookers was well over 50. I looked up and saw the drooping banner of the Hussites, with the inscription “Pravda vitezi” or “the truth prevails” emblazoned boldly for all to see. I stopped for a moment surveying the scene, pondering the words of the service. Who would carry on the work of the service when this generation passed? Who would see to it that the truth prevailed? I could feel the waves of secularism beating against the walls of the church. Who would carry on the fight once they had fought the good fight?
I wish I knew, but history has always been a conflict of beliefs. This incidence is not unique to our age in history. But different movements breed fear, and a desire to protect those beliefs that we value most, sometimes even to blows. Demagogues are born as the need for instigators arises. Kings and rulers gain power as people give up freedoms to protect their beliefs and subject those whose beliefs they do not understand. People act according to their passions and are forced to choose sides, unfortunately it is never just a simple case of good vs. evil. Tempers flare and lines blur.