Tue 18 Apr 2006
I confess that sometimes I cannot wait for the end of the world. Because the world is nothing but vanity. So many people tuned out and stuck following patterns, chasing after the wind, in cycles of self-involved, selfish boredom. Self-imposed apathy. And meanwhile wars are raging and people are starving, and all around me everyone is posing for family portraits in the photo studios, drowning in pop radio and excess, agonizing over video rentals and dying without meaning, and there is so much horror in the world that we work so relentlessly to gloss over (myself very much included), that I find sometimes I am overwhelmed with a desire to see all that horrible truth burst from the sky and come cascading down, inescapable, like that scene in The Shining when an ocean of blood bursts from the elevator doors.
Lord, I want to see this façade, this farce of an existence, torn to shreds.
It is the Saturday before Easter and I am kneeling before a wooden cross in a room lit by candles. I am supposed to be reflecting on what Jesus’ death. I should be focusing on redemption and repentance, being made clean and blameless by his suffering.
But I can’t.
And this is my prayer:
I feel fed up with this world, tired of fighting it, tired of fighting myself, sick with inadequacy and hopeless, and I don’t really see how it matters that my sins were forgiven. I still sin every single day – You call us to be perfect, but still I am not perfect. Maybe I don’t have enough faith, but I’ve yet to meet a perfect person, and the people who think they are perfect seem to be the furthest from it. This is obvious.
And I realize, I realize, that Your death abolished sin and death and I should be grateful, but honestly? I don’t see any end in sight. People still cling desperately to their sins. Who can lead them? They would not even listen to You when You walked with them! What hope does Your imperfect, fallen church have?
So Lord, I know that it is wrong, but I am filled with a zealous rage for the end of the world.
You came to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. Apparently. I mean that’s what they say.
But Lord, Lord, You could have ripped this world asunder. You could have unveiled something glorious and sparkling and new and blameless. Lord of the Universe – You could have done anything!
But You didn’t.
And why, exactly?
So I could be washed clean?!
I would like to believe that. I really, really would, but look at me.
You call this clean?
I don’t feel clean. And beyond that, this world does not feel redeemed.
I’m sorry, Jesus, but I do not see how this world could even BE redeemed. Just wipe it out. Please. Me and everyone. Soon. Now. I don’t care.
Today, at the foot of this cross, the most uplifting message I can scrape together is that Christ was too good for the world. Or something. But I can’t even seem to cling to that.
There are only two sour prayers echoing in my mind:
The first is that I ache for the end of the world
The second is a phrase I’ve always forbidden myself from thinking, but now it throbs inside of my spirit, like a dull, shapeless bruise.
I cannot help it.
I cannot help but pray, “God damn it.”
(this is only part one, taken from last Saturday . . . part two is coming . . .)