The Play Goes On
“That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse . . .”
It’s a line from the1989 movie, Dead Poet’s Society. Actually, it’s a Walt Whitman quote the English professor, John Keating (Robin Williams) used to motivate his prep-school students to pursue their dreams. I’m not a fan of Walt Whitman’s humanistic views, but his poem not only captures his deep despair over merely existing in a world void of meaning, but it offers an answer of hope.
“Answer. That you are here—that life exists, and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” The English professor in the movie again drives home Whitman’s point. “That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
Wow. Had someone asked me that question in the early years of my walk with Christ, I would’ve been far from inspired. I already felt so worthless . . . so, so incidental, I needn’t be reminded of my deficiencies. Like Whitman, I too had asked myself, what worthwhile verse could I possibly contribute to this world? Not much. When I entered the Kingdom, I was in survival mode. Even the creation story was painful to read. It insulted me that after God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, He told them to; Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on earth.[i]
Be fruitful, multiply, subdue, rule. That’s it? Be useful? We’re to be mere groundskeepers over God’s creation? Glorified maintenance workers and custodians with assigned cleanup/fix up duties? What if we lack what it takes? What then? Do we end up in some slush pile until God figures out how to fit us in? I suppose a woman’s contribution in all this is to stay barefoot and pregnant, keep the little grabbers in line. How else will we multiply? Really. I was greatly put out.
Until the Lord painted a different picture of the creation story through the words of a speaker at a retreat—a masterpiece of a picture that has stayed with me for decades. She talked in detail about how expectant parents go to great lengths to create the perfect nurseries for their babies before they arrive. She spoke of the special care they give to selecting the right furniture, wall color, and decorating theme their child will be safe in, grow, and mature in. Nothing is too good; no expense is too great for their little one.
She went on to say that in the same way, God went to great lengths to prepare a suitable nursery for His children before we arrived. Mankind was not just another detail in His creation story or hired help to keep things in working order as I supposed. We were greatly anticipated, desired. Adored. So much so, it took Him six days to fashion just the right environment for us to safely grow in, mature, and function in.
This was to me a revelation of remarkable proportions. For the first time, I felt I might actually be here for a reason. That God figured this earth would be a better place with me in it and that with Christ in me, I could actually contribute a worthwhile verse in the powerful story He was telling. No more second-rate thinking. I had stepped into destiny.
Lee Harms touches on this in his book, Healing and Deliverance Fundamentals: “Adam’s authority to rule and subdue on the earth (not in heaven) was stolen from him by Satan when he agreed with Satan and rebelled against God’s authority . . . Thus, lawlessness entered into man’s relationship with God . . .”[ii]
Adam and Eve didn’t realize what good thing they blew when they rebelled. They—and all of us that followed—were left in disgrace and shame while Satan gladly took our place in subduing and ruling in this world.[iii] I had been among those disgraced. Lee points out that the original creation deteriorated until man’s wickedness finally resulted in judgment by flood. Upon exiting the ark after the flood, the Lord blessed Noah and his family, commanding them again to, be fruitful and multiply; and fill the earth.[iv]
“What happened to rule and subdue?” Lee then asks. “Note that Satan stole the right to rule and subdue, he did not steal ownership. The earth, and all it contains, still belongs to its Maker.”[v]
So, as rightful Owner of this earth, and with the full authority and backing of heaven, “Jesus went to the cross, He atoned for Adam’s sin just as He atoned for yours and mine . . . This atoning act gave Jesus the right, after His resurrection, to declare, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth’ (Matthew 28:18). His next word is directed to us. He says, ‘Go’ (vs. 19) . . . He is sending us under His authority and in His name. We are to be His ambassadors.”[vi]
Let’s let that revelation soak in deep. When we go out as Jesus’ ambassadors—under His authority—all of heaven is backing us. We are carriers of His presence, once again authorized to do the subduing-and-ruling stuff. When we walk into a room, Jesus enters with us. When we lay hands on the sick, He is touching them through us. When we speak, He is speaking through us. Let’s represent Him well.
Be fruitful. Multiply. Subdue. Rule. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.[vii]
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be?
[i] Genesis 1:28 [ii] Healing and Deliverance Fundamentals by Lee Harms; King of glory Ministries International Publications 2014; page 21 [iii] John 12:31 [iv] Healing and Deliverance Fundamentals; page 21; (Genesis 9:1, 7) [v] Healing and Deliverance Fundamentals; page 21; (Psalm 24:1; Exodus 9:29) [vi] Healing and Deliverance Fundamentals; page 22; (2 Corinthians 5:20) [vii] John 14:12