I have been following the events of the last few months on CNN surrounding the transition of power from the Republicans to the Democrats. I have been horrified by the footage on the onslaught of the buildings of the Capitol, as they have said – the archetype of democracy. What does this carnage here in the US bring to mind on a larger scale. We know that we are all part of a greater whole, so what happens to my American friends, happens to me and the people I love and care for.
We cannot be deluded into thinking that the enormous fissure in the American society will not fracture like a spider’s web across the world, and even the cosmos, and that we will all be caught up in it in some way. Creation encompasses all of the cosmos and what happens here on this tiny spec on the cosmic radar will have its ripple effect very far and very wide.
While this is all well and good I wonder what it means for us. There is no doubt, if one steps back and adopts a worldview, that not much is working in the world and that most of God’s creation and even the material and physical creations of man in the world, are in some form of decay. There is a talk of a ‘new normal’, but no-one seems to take us further than that; can some-one take us closer to the edge so that we may look out and beyond at what awaits us?
Most of the first part of the Revelation to John tells us of the cosmic battle that precedes God’s new and glorious creation and we can see remnants of that battle all around us. The events of 6th January, 2021 at the United States Capitol building gave us graphic and terrifying images of what humanity is capable of. I stood in the grip of disbelief as I watched people attacking the keepers of the law, smashing people with flagpoles, beating people, surrounding them and chanting terrifying mob threats of death and persecution. Smashing windows and buildings and targeting innocent, well meaning people with the intent of capture and murder.
I have lived in South Africa all my life and these images are not foreign to me. They are a way of life for us here, we have all lived through the trauma and transition of apartheid and all the hatred, infighting and corruption that has followed in its wake and brought our country to its knees.
But America, for me as a South African, as a person who has always needed an icon of hope and peace, falling into the trenches of violence, betrayal and hatred… What was my bastion of hope lay in pieces on the ground. It was a very violent, emotional and psychological shock. It was vicarious trauma, complicated by the re-awakening of previous trauma. The weight of the sadness and grief sat on my chest like an elephant, sucking the life-giving oxygen from me. Unbalancing me on every level and knocking me to the floor, next to the shreds of American peace and hope. My remains of my bastion of hope lying all around me.
This was now truly a changed world, but it wasn’t the ‘new normal’ – a phrase that I do wish folk would stop using, because without a vision of what it is, it is meaningless. And then, like someone lighting a candle within me, I remembered that the hope of Christ is not of this world, and so it can never be destroyed. I remembered that after the devastation and human carnage of God’s vengeance on the unrighteousness was completed in the Revelation to John, that there was a ‘new creation’; certainly nothing ‘normal’ but mind boggling beautiful with a light that can never go out, streaming from beautiful light reflecting stones, there will never be ‘night’ again, because God’s ‘normal’ is incomparable to anything we have ever encountered or ever will; it is more wonderful, more humane, infused with love, grace, mercy and compassion like swimming in an endless sea of God’s eternal blessings.
I will wait for that, in everlasting hope, whether it happens in this world or when I swirl and dance in everlasting grace. There is no ‘new normal’ there is only God’s incomparable beauty, a dance of ineffable love; a ‘walk on the wild side’ wilder, more mysterious and enchanting than you have ever known. Instead of taking your breath away, it will fill your heart, mind, body and soul with the love of God, to the extent that it will overflow into the entire cosmos which will be filled with its misty wisps of light.