Perhaps, church life is running in a kyklos. The kyklos is how the Greeks viewed government -- in a cycle -- always turning in on itself as regimes are formed and dismantled, models made and then splintered. It goes round and round. Monarchy turns to despots turn to tyranny turns to oligarchy turns to democracy turns back to anarchy.
According to the Greeks liberty eats itself. That's Paul too - everything is permissible but not beneficial. There are definite ends to it, and, at the end of things, it's not pretty. It's usually not worth much at the start either, since liberty most often begins with war. For the Christian that war is within the soul, the wrestling match with God himself and his word.
The moon rests just the same over New Orleans and Indonesia. The gutters of Japan bucket out the last of their dead onto a radio active ocean. The tsunami heaps onto its record - a prized fighter finding punching his opponents down for count after count. Africa is baked in tyranny as children are fatherless due to years of civil war and bombs burst all over the air.
A pastor friend of mine wrote something the other day that's worrisome. He said, "The natural disaster that struck Japan is not God’s doing, but the result of the earth’s crust shifting and realigning."
It's not grace, but it's like it - the gap that occurs between intentions and needed rest or worship and debauchery or hatred and love. I've been in the gap of "hiatus" for about 12 months. The gap is no gaping wound or something beyond commonplace busyness, but time builds up a void like hornets on a summer porch.
Shel Silverstein’s famous giving tree tale points out the gravity that bends us to the ground… to sit, to retrace our steps, to finally die. If you believe nature is cursed with death, you might likewise find aging as a standard fare, but maybe it’s not. The only difference between death and life is breathing. Nothing more.
The death of legend Michael Jackson fell near the legendary anniversary of the moon walk. Forty years ago the earth's skin ripped open with a rocket's red glare, bursting out to discover what the moon is made of. "Is it cheese?" asks Wallace. "Is there a man up there?" asks the nursery song. We didn't know. A whole civilization could be looking down at us this entire time, eating cheese and wondering what on earth might be going on... well... on Earth.
NPR told me that ants smell each other to communicate. A scientist observed several ants discarding one of their own dead. "How do they know?" he asked himself, and began mixing concoctions until he could fake an ant's death. He placed a smelly substance that marked out death on the back of an ant and put her inside the colony. Immediately drone soldier ants came and carried her off.
(Damn you) Adam. You discovered emptiness in a place of plenty, where God raced you to the water’s edge to make you his watershed. But you preferred baptism to sweet water, wilderness to milk and honey.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
- Hebrews 12:1-2