By Deborah Galiley
Last week, I was looking through the shelves in my local library’s 6×6 cubicle of a bookstore, when a certain volume caught my eye. It was a book entitled The Perfect Summer, by Juliet Nicolson, which is a historical re-telling of England in the summer of 1911, just before World War I swept in like a flood.
“This looks timely,” I thought, ever apocalyptic. What could be more fitting for the days we live in than a glimpse into the lives of people who were living the party, who had it all, and then death and destruction took them unaware?
I got halfway through the book before skimming it and reading the end. I have to say that I was appalled with the accounts of the lives of British nobility one hundred years ago. Many of the wealthy women in particular were so completely bored that they could barely make it through the day, relying on extramarital affairs and excursions into the occult to stoke their attention.
In huge contrast, thirty percent of the nation lived in abject poverty. These were people who took turns sleeping in the same bed, because they couldn’t afford to have their own. Poverty, disease, and dirt ran rampant, in stark contrast to the tiny percentage of rich elite who lived in enormous mansions, concocting elaborate meals to tempt jaded palates.
It took World War I and the death of millions of England’s youth – the next generation – to put the final nail in the coffin, if you will, to the lingering on of a medieval noblesse oblige type of lifestyle. The stripping of meaning from life through a horrible and senseless war, somehow brought meaning back to life, and with it, God.
It’s no secret that God is easily dispensed with when everything’s going great. Unfortunately, it often takes calamity to bring people to an awareness and appreciation of the Lord. We are in that season now. NOW is the time to get close to God, NOW is the time to tell others about him, NOW is the time to completely throw in our lot with him. We may not have a tomorrow. There’s no putting it off.
Now is the summer of 1911. It’s hot, cloudless, and relentlessly sunny. We don’t know what’s around the corner, but it just may be the smell of musket powder. Don’t lie around, bored. Seek after him.