Somehow, despite century upon century of irrefutable evidence, we keep waiting for the world to be good. We keep being surprised by news of another shooting. We keep thinking that another coat of paint or a new philosophy of education is going to turn this globe around.
It feels like half of the world refuses to believe that the world is rotting at the core. The other half knows that it is but seems to forget the reality of renewal offered in and through Christ alone.
In his short poem entitled “Tired,” Langston Hughes paints a powerful image of a world rotting at the core.
“I am so tired of waiting,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?
Let us take a knife
And cut the world in two –
And see what worms are eating
At the rind.”
It seems the world took Hughes’s invitation and has cut the world into a thousand small pieces. Different groups have isolated various worms and committed to rid the world of them. But these groups fight among themselves and leave us fractured and still rotting.
Rotten Yet Redeemed
Another poet, Christina Rossetti, paints a similar picture but from the honest perspective of a believer in Christ. She invites her readers to see not only the rottenness but also the invitation to redemption from a wounded Christ.
“Friends, I commend to you the narrow way:
Not because I, please God, will walk therein,
But rather for the Love Feast of that day,
The exceeding prize which whoso will may win.
Earth is half-spent and rotting at the core,
Here hollow death’s heads mock us with a grin,
Here heartiest laughter leaves us tired and sore.
Men heap up pleasures and enlarge desire,
Outlive desire, and famished evermore
Consume themselves within the undying fire.
Yet not for this God made us: not for this.
Christ sought us far and near to draw us nigher,
Sought and found and paid our penalties.
If one could answer ‘Nay’ to God’s command,
Who shall say ‘Nay’ when Christ pleads all He is
For us, and holds us with a wounded Hand?”
Not for this God made us, not for this. He made us for more. He went so far as to die to secure our ability to have access to the more for which we were made. But sometimes we stop short as believers. Convinced of our security in Christ, we leave the rotting world to itself. Christ has done the work, we say. And, indeed, He has. And He now empowers us to join him in his ongoing work.
The base problem is sin, we say. And, indeed, it is. However, having addressed the base and knowing its solution in Christ alone, we are invited to roll up our sleeves and go to work in the places of rottenness to promote health.
Where is there rot in your local community? Do you know its smell and its taste and its disease well enough to plead the wounded hand of Christ?