A mosaic of despair and brokenness

Here’s another excerpt from the semi-mythical book I claim to be working on. This one’s a bit darker than the last one. I currently have it positioned just after a section where I’ve talked about Jesus as the promised king who has come to restore God’s kingdom and pour out the blessings of shalom on God’s people.

Jesus, the promised king, came into the world and brought with him the promises of the kingdom. “Good news,” he proclaimed to anyone who would listen, “God’s shalom, God’s kingdom, is at hand! God has kept his promises, he is restoring his people and his land!”

“That’s great!” you think. And then…you look around you.

Look closely.

A small child lying quietly in the dust. Barely clothed. Bones stretching dry skin to the breaking point. Breathing? Just. No family in sight. No one cares.

Blink.

Three men crouching in the bushes. Guns in hand. Bloodstained clothing. Explosions everywhere. Hearts racing. Will they make it home? Does anyone still wait for them? Fear.

Blink.

A young girl running through the darkness. Clothes torn. Desperate. Dark alleys. Closed windows. Will anyone hear? Will anyone see? Is he coming?

Blink.

College kids partying in an apartment somewhere. Loud music playing. Alcohol almost gone. Sex just getting started. Enough distraction to dull the pain, hide the boredom. Is there anything else? No one knows.

Blink.

A family at home. TVs, computers, video games, headphones. Separate rooms. No talking. House full of people…and loneliness.

Blink.

A quiet room. You’re alone. Only your thoughts to keep you company. Those same thoughts. Why won’t they go away? What’s wrong with me? I’m glad no one knows. Hiding.

Blink….Blink….Blink….On and on it goes. The images won’t stop. A mosaic of despair and brokenness.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). How can that be? That was two thousand years ago.  And yet, we look around today and see so much death, so much destruction, so much shoah.

Again, let me know what you think. I’m shamelessly using you as a sounding board whenever I try something new (for me). So, if you don’t think it works, let me know…gently.

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Jesus, the promised king, came into the world and brought with him the promises of the kingdom. “Good news,” he proclaimed to anyone who would listen, “God’s shalom, God’s kingdom, is at hand! God has kept his promises, he is restoring his people and his land!”

“That’s great!” you think. And then…you look around you.

Look closely.

A small child lying quietly in the dust. Barely clothed. Bones stretching dry skin to the breaking point. Breathing? Just. No family in sight. No one cares.

Blink.

Three men crouching in the bushes. Guns in hand. Bloodstained clothing. Explosions everywhere. Hearts racing. Will they make it home? Does anyone still wait for them? Fear.

Blink.

A young girl running through the darkness. Clothes torn. Desperate. Dark alleys. Closed windows. Will anyone hear? Will anyone see? Is he coming?

Blink.

College kids in an apartment somewhere. Loud music playing. Alcohol almost gone. Sex just getting started. Enough distraction to dull the pain and hide the boredom. Is there anything else? No one knows.

Blink.

A family at home. TVs, computers, video games, headphones. Separate rooms. No talking. House full of people, hearts full of loneliness. Can it last?

Blink.

A quiet room. You’re alone. Only your thoughts to keep you company. Those same thoughts. Why won’t they go away? What’s wrong with me? I’m glad no one knows. Hiding.

Blink….Blink….Blink….On and on it goes. The images won’t stop. A mosaic of despair and brokenness.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). How can that be? How could Jesus say two thousand years ago that the kingdom of God was at hand, and yet we look around today and see so much death, so much destruction, so much shoah?

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on June 2, 2010, in Salvation, Sin, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Marc, I think what you’ve said is profoundly true. If the kingdom of God has come in Christ……why do so many things suck (a highly theological word that I think should be used in academia)? I think you’ve begun to establish a question that many people ask in light of our “American Dream” mentality where God is supposed to give us everything we want so that we can be comfortable. Better yet, this idea that God acts on the basis of Karma as part of his repayment plan. I”m interested to see how you’ll craft the answer after establishing the question.

  2. The style definitely works, i.e. interesting, engaging, etc. Does shoah communicate? I’m not sure. It is such an event specific word. Or maybe you are putting everything you listed before under the rubric of shoah.

    • I talk about shoah earlier in the book, specifically referencing the Holocaust and what “shoah” means. At the moment I’m using shalom and shoah as contrasting terms throughout the book.

  3. Gosh, that’s powerful stuff….

  1. Pingback: Help, I need a title « scientia et sapientia

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