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Why does God not destroy the world?

In the sin and bloodthirst of human life,

Whereby so many suffer blows from stamping boots and iron hands,

Why not sweep it all away?


I wander through the sunshine

And wonder if these things are why –

The shimmer of light across rippling water,

The ripple of wind across the long grass,

The bend of trees in the high breeze,

The shift and roll and swirl of clouds as they fly.

These are his creations.


I wander through the rain

And wonder if these things are why –

The sweep of a cloud’s shadow across the land,

The leaves borne along by water running swiftly,

The grey glimmer of light upon the gutter’s stream,

The rays of sunlight descending through breaking clouds.

These are his creations.


I wander through the warm breeze

And wonder if these things are why –

The green color of water in the curl of a great wave,

The white cottonwood seeds floating down the wind,

The way everything in the distance fades to a hazy blue.

These are his creations.


I wander through the crisp chill breeze

And wonder if these things are why –

The sunlight through yellow leaves not fallen,

The way a tree bare of leaves looks just like a network of blood vessels,

Or the branches of a human lung, or the branches of a river,

As if they all had the same function, so the same form.

These are his creations.


I wander through the snow

And wonder if these things are why –

The way that a forest bare of leaves is still so thick to impede sight,

The water vapor from a woody bush catching the sunlight on a winter morning,

The ice caught upon the branches after a freezing rain, glittering in the sunlight,

For a single day turning the barren and boring tree into a work of art

That no human hand could match, or make –

That is his creation.


I wander through the night, under stars,

And wonder if these things are why –

The easy sweep of the Milky Way across the heavens,

The twinkle of stars in the heavens,

The light of a bright full moon in the heavens

That turns the whole world beneath it silver, in its light,

And black, in its shadows.

The rise of the moon, orange on the horizon, as if some jack-o-lantern

Larger than any human hand could make.

These are his creations.


These are His creations. Among many.

He could make them again, if he swept them away for to sweep us away.

What of ours?


I sit in my chair with my knitting

And wonder if these things are why –

The way light through a window falls upon a dusty room,

How the lenses of spectacles bend the light

So that they cast a shadow on the table,

Even though they let light into your eyes.

How a bit of light coming through the windows of a sanctuary at night

Will make the place look as sinister as the sanctuary looks holy by day.

How the streetlights turn the clouds of night from dark shadows to violet banners,

A pretty contrast to the midnight blue and the twinkling stars.

The way your reflection in a silvered mirror looks so much like you

That you wonder if there is any difference.

The way your reflection in  a dark window makes you look like a ghost.

How the light catches on the twisting glass creations

Of those who would match the glitter of an ice-bound tree, as best they can.


These are our creations, among many.

These he would lose, if he swept the world away.


This also he would lose –

The way a child in the crook of someone’s arm

Falls asleep, safe and warm.

The way a dog greets its master at the door, bounding and baying,

Never bored.

The way a cat will stay with a household, despite its lofty stand-offish perch,

Despite its reluctance to be pet, despite its disdainful stare,

Because it also loves, in its own way.


This he would also lose –

The rope tossed by a stranger to a stranger

For to save them from peril,

For no reason other than that each must live.

The solemn bond of steadfast friends

Sworn to protect each other through all trials,

Sworn to remember each other though they may be parted.

He would lose the sight of old friends finding each other

Unexpectedly, after being parted for years.

He would lose the sight of two people who were perfect for each other

Finding each other by chance. He would lose the opportunity to arrange such things.


And he would lose his own friends on earth,

Those people, some say as few as thirty-six,

Who in their daily lives are so helpful, so loving and so kind

That they keep God’s grace in the world

Even when no one else seems to.

Many believe this is the only reason he forbears to destroy us.


Or perhaps the reason

Is that if he were to destroy the world,

If he were to blast it apart, and send the pieces spinning off into the darkness,

And never make another world, but step away from it all, and wander the heavens forever, cursing his efforts, cursing humanity, cursing everything,

It would mean he was admitting defeat,

And that his heart, greatest of all hearts,

Was at last broken.


I wander out of doors after a great storm

And see there in the sky, the real reason,

Above all else.

He promised to stay his hand.

He made a covenant. If he broke it,

Who could believe him again?

Not even himself.

And he would make no more covenants,

And be no Adonai, no Elohim, no El Elyon.

For good or ill, he made his promise with all the earth and all creatures on it,

And decided to be stuck with it.


He leaves the work of destroying the world to us,

Perhaps by fire,

Perhaps by flood.

We can blame none but ourselves now.

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