A FABLE ABOUT A FABLE
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king’s men
couldn't put Humpty together again.”
Humpty Dumpty's story ends tragically. As a scrambled egg! Our story can have a happily-ever-after conclusion. Through this present pandemic mandate to remain closeted/cloistered in our homes, God is giving us a slice of quiescent stillness to sit in His presence and let Him listen to our hearts, while we listen to His. We are provided with time to “be still and know that He is God” – and we are not. Let us hush our hearts so that He can examine them and we can hear His whisper as He restores us to His “whole egg” good order again.
In the late 1700s, this little ditty began as an English nursery rhyme about an anthropomorphic egg. It seems that Humpty had a mishap.
What was he doing on the wall in the first place? Whose wall was it? Was Humpty perchance disobeying someone's rules about wall climbing? Was this wall around a garden that he wanted to peep into but lost his balance? Did someone push him off? Did he jump? The rhyme doesn't tell us. And kids don't ask such questions anyway.
Too bad he was such a softy. It would have gone better for him had he been hard boiled. Some say the rhyme had political overtones, that perhaps it was about King Richard III who was defeated in battle. Such a pity that his entire army couldn't help him. The analogy has been exploited in political cartoons around the world. Ol' H.D. has even been used to demonstrate the Second Law of thermodynamics describing a process known as entropy—about the order and disorder of properties.
But the point of this is to explore the matter of order and disorder in our Christian lives using a personified Humpty Dumpty and his newsworthy event as a launching pad. What does this say about our human condition?
"Order" has many definitions. It is an authoritative communication or command, as in giving an order. It also describes something that is working well, as in good order. Or an orderly system of arrangements in a sequence, as in lining up in order or according to priorities. Order can mean a state of neatness or efficiency, as in putting one's affairs in order. Or denoting inner orderliness and peace, a sense of spiritual harmony.
Humpty must have experienced most of those definitions in his own eggish way by his catastrophic tumble. It certainly rearranged and disordered his properties—there was the CaCO3 shattered shell, the vitelline membrane, germinal disc yolk and chalazae spattered all over the place. It wasn't very pretty! Actually a mop was needed, not a military attempt for damage control. After such total egg disorder and disharmony, it figures that no one could help him reconstruct his former standing—or sitting, in his case. It permanently changed Humpty Dumpty's integrity.
Thank God that in salvation history the "great fall" of our first parents didn't permanently change our integrity! God created man in perfection and destined us to live with Him for eternity. Although long-term disorder did set in, God, in His infinite love and mercy, didn't leave us without hope. He is in the business of spiritual reconstruction and into the miracle of unscrambling eggs.
Through His plan from before the foundation of the world, reconciliation with God was offered to us through the redemptive sacrifice of Christ on the cross. We could become new creations in Christ and experience His Holy Spirit's indwelling. Our disorder, our need to be put together again, could be remedied through our repentance. Forgiveness of our sins, peace, harmony, and order could be restored.
King David described this marvelous spiritual restoration in the Psalm-songs as “being redeemed from the miry pit and set up on a rock.” Our "Rock" isn't the material wall of the Humpty Dumpty rhyme, but the solid Faith Foundation of Jesus Christ as our Rock. God intends us to keep abiding safely on that Rock-wall in close communion with Him.
No analogy is perfect, of course. The compounding problem is our generous gift from God of our free will. Moreover, we have to keep living in a fallen world. Even as new, restored creations we have the freedom to jump off of our Rock-wall. Or we might inadvertently slip off of it. When we do, we become uncomfortable and feel out-of-order.
That is as it should be. It can happen to us even during the course of a day when the stresses, responsibilities, the unexpecteds, and interruptions threaten to overwhelm us and throw us off kilter. Our peace flies away if we give in to anxiety. If our priorities get skewed, pressures of life can push us off the solid foundation wall of trusting and abiding in God. We can lose our balance by not keeping our eyes focused on the orders for the day that God has given us.
Humpty's summons of all the material and military resources of his human (or barnyard) kingdom didn't do him any good. Unscrambling scrambled eggs was above their pay grade. Vain is the help of man or of poultry. But our situation is never hopeless in Christ if we find ourselves temporarily out-of-order. Our King of kings wants to draw us back to Himself, and He has provided a way out of our discombobulation and disarray.
He wants to keep us lovingly close and abiding in Him on His wall. It is easier if we keep short accounts with God. If perchance we wander from the paths of righteousness or deliberately take detours from what we know to be His will, we are not irretrievably scrambled again. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The Lord draws us gently back to Himself.
In the Secret Place of the Most High, sheltered-in-place in Christ, we have the opportunity to recollect ourselves and gather our scattered egg shell thoughts and activities to integrate and unite our spirits again with His. When we emerge in “the afterward” of this pandemic, we will be strengthened to stay on our designated walls of influence and help restore peace and order in our private worlds and beyond.
(Adapted from Leona Choy's book FABLES OF GOD'S KINGDOM FOR GROWN-UPS available through this website.)
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