“For more than five hundred years, Western culture has been shaped by the dream of achieving control of an allegedly purposeless nature. But many contemporary thinkers believe that such confidence is waning. Secularized science displaced God in the hopes of achieving human control over all things. But what happens when those scientific systems (including scientific approaches to economic well-being) fail to achieve the levels of control we expect?
Some of our unbelieving contemporaries are beginning to realize that the modern project of comprehensive control may not be possible. Such a realization may drive them to despair, but only because they continue to assume that, if we aren’t in control in this chaotic cosmos, then everything is pointless and doomed. But creation is not meaningless, and we are not called to complete control. As Paul reminds us at the end of Romans 11, there is a purpose being worked out in creation and in history, a purpose that we are not able to comprehend fully. We should be grateful that many people have a dawning sense of losing control; it may be the first step toward personal and cultural repentance.” –Ken Myers
It is difficult to bless and not to curse when one’s control of a situation is taken away.
It is only when I am not afraid to recognize my own brokenness, to say, “Turn us again, Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine and we shall be whole” – that the broken bones may begin to heal, and to rejoice. Without this phos hilaron, this joyous light, we fight against our impotence, in our spiritual lives, our intellectual lives, a large portion of our physical lives.
But in the small events of daily living, we are given the grace to condition our responses to frustrations… If our usual response to an annoying situation is a curse, we’re likely to meet emergencies with a curse. In the little events of daily living we have the opportunity to condition our reflexes, which are built up out of ordinary things. And we learn to bless first of all by being blessed. My reflexes of blessing have been conditioned by my parents, my husband, my children, my friends.
Blessing is an attitude toward all of life, transcending and moving beyond words. When family and friends gather around the table to break bread together, this is a blessing. When we harden our hearts against anyone, this is a cursing. Sometimes a person, or a group of people, do or say something so terrible that we can neither bless nor curse. They are anathema. We put them outside the city walls, not out of revenge, not out of hate, but because they have gone beyond anything we fragile human beings can cope with. So we say, Here, God, I’m Sorry. This is more than I can handle. Please take care of it. Your ways are not our ways. You know what to do. Please.
–Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season