New World Coming
It's hard to know which news is worse these days: deadly plague or angry protest. Or is it political incompetence in high places? Or the frightening shifts in influence among the world powers? Which to choose, which to choose?
What can any one of us do in the face of such behemoths? What is our defence? What weapons do we possess to make a stand against their destructive swaths? Or, maybe, war imagery is not well suited for these times. Maybe it's not a battle against some unseen foe, not a stab in the darkness of our approaching demise. Maybe this is our rebirth and these are not death rattles at all, but birth pangs.
Whenever the writers of the Bible imagined the end times, which they did with some frequency (their own experience of life being, as Hobbes put it, nasty, brutish and short), they spoke in cataclysmic terms. The old order would not just fade away, but flame out, spectacularly--by fire and flood and tempest, by movement in the heavens above and tremors in the earth below. Whatever the hopeful new world God is creating, they seem to say, the old one will not go peacefully into the night, but violently, with fangs bared. Only then will the new order be born.
We know this in our own lives. No matter how unhappy we may be in our personal circumstances, we rarely change them, until change seeks us out, grabbing our heel and upending us. Often, a person losing their job will later reflect that it was the best thing that ever happened to them. After a broken marriage, the Exes will sometimes confess that it should have happened years ago. We don't welcome change. We resist change.
Could this be what's happening now? We've known all along that institutionalized powers, like police and military forces, serve the prejudices of the powerful. We've known that, as the earth has shrunk by world trade and travel, we have become one big village rather than countless small ones, and therefore vulnerable to apocalyptic plagues. We have known for generations that the might of the great nations is fickle, and in the end will not save us. But no one knew what to do about it.
Well, the time is nigh. There is no longer a choice. Ready or not, the new order is coming. And there is something we can do in the face of these immense changes. We can look to the skies, just as the biblical prophets told us to do, and prepare ourselves to welcome the good, to fight the evil, and to hope for the new world's best iteration at the end of the day. No one said it would be easy.