William Butler Yeats lamented the disintegration of the civilized world, in ruins at the end of World War I. "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world..." Everything had come unglued. Nothing could be relied upon any longer but that the best of mankind would not have the courage of their convictions, "while the worst/are full of passionate intensity."
Yes, well, something very much like that is happening to this, my faithful writing instrument. It's falling apart. Whatever holds the center of it together is beginning not to do so, and mere anarchy is spreading throughout the unseen mechanisms and movements tucked away within its dulling plastic shell.
I'm writing as fast as I can in order to complete this and one other project before what seems like inevitable collapse must ensue. Like the groaning creation all around, my computer is creaking, halting, wincing, and wheezing. The space bar is fatigued and must often be struck more than once. A green vertical line has insinuated itself down the right hand corner of the screen. The cursor, with increasing frequency, refuses to go where I direct it, and the files and programs open when they please, not when I double-click. And getting to email or the Internet recalls those ancient days of dial-up.
Is it the fault of sin, or do things just fall apart after a while? Certainly the former. We, for one, were not made to fall apart, but to live in glory forever. In the new heavens and new earth the law of entropy will have been defeated, the destroying moth and rust will be otherwise - and more constructively - engaged, and sin and its disturbing, decaying, destructive effects will be no more. All our machines will then, I presume, work tirelessly forever.
But not in this life. By this evening I shall have replaced this faithful friend and co-laborer with a new, more powerful model - one in which the effects of sin are only today beginning to work their corrosive effects.
Yet, in spite of the power of sin, we seek the glory of God, the benefit of our neighbors, and the improvement of the world through those very institutions and machines which waste away under the demands of our labors. In a world everywhere stressed, distressed, and oppressed by the power of sin, we press on to know King Jesus and to make Him known, snatching whatever victories we can - large or small - from the ever-slouching rough beast of sin.
No sooner will I press the first key on that new computer than sin's effects will begin to spread, and things will start to fall apart all over again. But though sin's effects are powerful and all-pervasive, it is the calling of those who seek the Kingdom to rescue as much we can of beauty, goodness, and truth from a groaning world and its insitutions and machines.
Things fall apart, as sinful things must. But we are agents of reconciliation and renewal, and we overcome evil with good and as we seek and advance, against the power of sin, the Kingdom purposes of God.
What will you rescue of beauty, goodness, or truth from the death-grip of sin today?
Additional related texts: Hebrews 2.5-9; 2 Corinthians 5.17-21; Revelation 21.5; Romans 12.21
A conersation starter: "Everywhere we look things are falling apart. Why must this be so? Is it just that we're not smart enough or wealthy enough that we can put a stop to all the things that are wearing our world out?"
T. M. Moore