Summertime and the living is easy, except for a resumption of hostilities in the backyard where Mr. McGregor is determined to snag wily Peter Rabbit this year, liberating his green peppers for humanity. My dad is a relatively gentle captor, preferring banishment to execution; the local state park has absorbed into its ecosystem not a few furry transgressors formerly residing at this address.
I don't know how it all works, this ecosystem business. Take a prairie. Bunnies eat the grass; wolves eat the bunnies. No grass, no bunnies. No bunnies, no wolves. If wolves disappeared, rabbits would rule, but it would be a short reign. They would devour all the grass and then starve themselves to death. If rabbits disappeared, there would go our grass trimmers, and trees would take over the world.
And so the weary world wags on. Wolf and Sheepdog, aka Ralph and Sam, show up at the sheep meadow each morning, lunch box in hand, exchange pleasantries, punch their time cards, and chase each other for all they're worth. At whistle shriek, they freeze in their tracks, punch out, and wave goodbye. Tomorrow will be the same.
God has an ecosystem of another kind, but no one has figured it out. He says so in Isaiah 57:1: "The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands." We have had many deaths of righteous men and women in our local church congregation lately. "Senseless deaths," as they say. All way too young, most by cancer, no scientist yet having discovered some curative chemical in a mosquito that would justify its place in the circle of life.
The unbeliever scoffs: "How could a good God . . . ?" We who from time to time are forced to cull our herds (when I hit a deer in Michigan, the mechanic called them "forest rats") find fault with God's culling methods. We have no idea. Dr. James Gills says in RX for Worry that the human "brain stores the equivalent of 25 million books [and] it can function at ten thousand trillion computations per second." We let that go to our heads, but the designer of the computer is greater than the computer.
We who want to control history, and who can't even predict tomorrow's NASDAQ, ought to mind our Star Trek lessons. In "The City on the Edge of Forever" (1967), the intrepid time travelers do something to change history for the better, so they think. Finding themselves thrown back to 1930 at the 21st Street Mission, Kirk pushes the beautiful Edith Keeler out of the path of an oncoming car. She is good-hearted and noble, and it is "senseless" that a creature so fine should die.
But Kirk and Spock soon learn, to the smitten captain's chagrin, that they must go back and undo their saving work. If Ms. Keeler is not allowed to be killed that day-as planned by an unseen Hand-she will go on to organize a powerful pacifist movement that will delay the country's entrance into the war, giving Hitler time to develop the atomic bomb before we do, and to achieve world domination, resulting in much death and servitude of multitudes.
It is because of God's delicate ecosystem that the tares are left to grow with the wheat until harvester angels with sickles bring an end to the confusion (Matthew 13:24-30). God's children need auto mechanics, Christian or no.
Another factor not generally considered is that the early rapture of the righteous, while sad for us who sigh over their photographs, is not so tragic from their present perspective. "For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness" (Isaiah 57:1b-2). What do we call this unconditional prejudice of ours for longevity on planet Earth that clouds our better judgment-"Earthism"?
Simon Peter wanted to rewrite the script and cut the crucifixion scene. It elicits the only harsh remark from Jesus toward His disciple in the recorded gospels. No crucifixion, no reconciliation with God. No reconciliation with God, no point to life. No point to life, and my dad may as well let Peter Rabbit do his thing because the whole thing's senseless anyhow.
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