Thomas at Endlessly Rocking has helpfully posted a paragraph that leads into something I wanted to think some more about.
[The Declaration of Independence] is our charter of liberty, and the Constitution is a workaday framework for daily governance crafted in compromise and cunning, and together they constitute this country as a rather weird experiment. It’s fatally flawed, of course, and in no way resembles or helps bring in or models or otherwise yields a speck of the Kingdom of God. In fact, this will no doubt go the way of all penultimate things – God raised it up, he’ll throw it down. It’s his way. “The nations are as a drop in a bucket,” the rulers and peoples of the earth “are like grasshoppers” hopping pitifully at his feet. He looks upon them and laughs, and who can blame him? All the same, as that’s out of our hands, let’s make use of our fortune while we may, so that when we are gone some might faintly remember that once there was a place invented as a broad space for liberty and virtue. I can dream anyway – I want all tyrants here and abroad, now and forever, to remember, and tremble all the more in their night terrors.
To begin with, since I’m going to take one sentence and depart in a tangent toward Neptune or somewhere, I agree with his basic and overall points.
I depart at the place where it says “He looks at them and laughs.” That may be true as well, but . . . .
I heard Fr. Thomas Hopko on Incarnation Broadcast radio talking about the work of the laity in the world. He said–and I wish I had it written down instead of aurally ingested, so that I could cogitate on his words–that when Christ redeems the world, it will be the whole world, not only what He created, but also our widgets and software and bridges and buildings and sculptures and symphonies and novels and poems and plays, and, I suppose, even our various experiments at government.
What we do has meaning and value because we are human beings and because our creative works participate in the creativity of the Creator. It doesn’t mean that what we’ve done is perfect–in the sense of either “finished” or “unfallen”–but because we are part of the cosmos, what we bring into the cosmos will be redeemed.
As Fr. Michael Oleksa said in a recent sermon in our parish church, John 3:16 doesn’t refer to the “civilized world” (ecumene), but to the “created world” (cosmos): “For God so loved the whole creation that He gave His only begotten Son . . . .”