Many, many moons ago, when I was at vicar school, we were required to read 'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe, a striking novel that draws it's title from the W B yeats poem "The Second Coming". As I've listened to the news over the past few days, and seen things falling apart in a country I love, seen anger and vitriol, intolerance and bitterness, I've found the opening lines of the poem flooding into my mind...
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I cannot claim to understand the poem, but its first stanza rings horribly true just now.
Kyrie eleison - LORD have mercy
Today I am moved, very strongly, to pray for justice, peace and truth:
For a young woman whose citizenship has been stripped from her (wrongly in my view) because having made a poor choice she now seeks to return home (think Prodigal son story...)
For a young man whose trial for the rape and murder of a young girl reveals a complex web of disorder and dis-ease at the heart of those affected (justice is not revenge, sentence should be rehabilitation, if at all possible)
For the family of a six year-old girl who went to bed happy, and whose life was ruthlessly cut short.
For the countless unknown ones whose lives are irrevocably changed by the foolish, selfish and sometimes even malevolent decisions and actions of those who wield power, elected or imposed.
Things fall apart - the centre cannot hold, and yet, in the brokeness of it all is the inexteingushable flicker of light that is Love, that is is Life, that is Hope. Amen.