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Of cabbages and kings
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Not master, not really. When he surrenders his power and becomes vulnerable to something stronger - to beauty - then bad things happen, and he is eventually destroyed. Not by the beauty, but by others who do not surrender their power. Kong climbs as high as he can, even to the brim of the world, but then there is nowhere else to go. Fly, he can not.
As my son Marc reminded me, this was not an adventure story any more than it was a tragedy. Tragedy (Greek root words for "goat" and "sing") depicts inevitable destruction brought about by conflict between an individual out of control, with a higher power in control - the law, society, the gods, fate. The more powerful he is, the more ruin he can come to. The tragic "hero" falls from king to scapegoat, and in frantic ecstasy we heap all our own pain and sin on his head. Pushed out of the city gates, he must leave safety and civilization for danger and eventual death in the wilderness.
Classic tragic form calls its audience into catharsis - a healing, emotional cleansing - as we identify with the main character's powerlessness. Of course we blame him too, and heap our own indignities on him, but we ARE him at the same time. And thus we are broken along with him, and cast out with him.
Must we die with him? Psalm 97 challenges the tragic end: "The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice."
Oh, I am full of sin, yes, and I gaze with horror into the face of death. But ... "the Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice."
I am cast out and wander in the wilderness, eyes plucked by wild birds, lost without water or food. But ... "the Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice."
I am finally powerless and empty, my body without resource or reserve. But ... "the Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice."
Death shall have no dominion.
Lord, you give us glimpses of the world as You made it, even as we live in the one we have created. Satan is no longer ruler here. You have come. Praise the Lord.