What if coronavirus,
Creeps around unstoppably,
In aerosols too fine for masks to impede
And, like many a disease before it,
Is already so widespread
That, despite all our efforts,
It will take its toll
Whatever we do?
What if our many billions,
Poured out in lockdown
With no regard for wiser means,
Have had not the slightest effect,
Save for an impoverishment
That leads us to borrow more
From nations who hold in contempt
All we once regarded as dear?
What if men and women,
Entranced by man’s achievements,
With ne’er a thought for God,
Have grown oblivious to the powers of nature,
And, having been told so often
That we have rights to all and sundry,
Forget that the source is not government fiat
But fair winds and the sweat of man’s brow?
What if we are governed
By a godlessness
That, unlike the real Canute,
Knows not the limits of man’s power
But assures us that viruses can be beaten
And, were it politically expedient,
Would equally tell us
That the sea could be held back?
Canute the Great was king of Denmark, England and Norway. He was one of the first Scandinavian kings to accept Christianity. Medieval historian Norman Cantor called ‘the most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history‘, which corelates with the story of him demonstrating to his flattering courtiers that he had no power over the waves.
The story reminds one of Psalm 2:
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.