Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our Fragile Lives

In about 2000 I sang in a thrilling oratorio at church that included a solo by a powerful baritone backed by a large chorus. The lyrics included this message: “The kings of the earth and the kingdoms built by man, rise up in their glory and go back to dust again.” I played it over and over not just to learn the choral part, but because I loved all of its masterful words and music.

When the World Trade Center was attacked and crumbled to a pile of rubble in 2001, it was the tape my mind kept playing. I have hummed it when other disasters have struck, when I see the innate vanity of human beings challenged. It helps me to see the big picture, beyond the actual awful events, that in spite of what we work hard to build, everything is temporary and subject to loss, annihilation, and decay. We are not to think too highly of ourselves or our accomplishments. Now there is the disastrous situation in Japan that will forever change the island nation. Tall buildings rocked to destruction; treasured possessions and human lives swept away in moments by great violent arms rising out of the Pacific Ocean.

“The kings of earth who rule with might and power will bend their knees to God when time concludes its final hour,” the song goes on to say. Life is really about Love, not our own might or power, which are in fact part of our frailty. Such a cataclysmic event of biblical proportions should point us in the right direction.

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