A Divine Domino Effect

There’s something fascinating about dominos falling, one after the other. 

I remember, as a child, playing with the dominos at my Grandma’s house. Dozens, if not a couple hundred dominos were stood up, set in place about a half-inch to an inch apart. We would make different patterns and designs on the floor with these upright dominos, even trailing them under furniture or up stacks of books.

Eventually, it came time to start the chain-reaction. With just a gentle touch, the whole thing came tumbling down. One after the other, after the other, after the other, and so on. And we would just watch with wonder as this route of rectangles rapidly reacted to such a simple action. One small thing caused this “work of art” to come crashing down in a fraction of the time it took to make.

Again, there’s just something fascinating about dominos falling, one after the other…unless it’s an unintended chain reaction, with unintended devastating results!

A few days ago, I read a news story about a young woman who made a mistake. The article included a video of the girl and her expensive trip to the art gallery. The art gallery, located in Los Angeles, featured a new exhibit of various crowns—handcrafted, delicate, made from a variety of materials, some even gold-plated. Each of these beautiful crowns and tiaras (perhaps 50 of them) were individually placed upon a podium; and, each podium was set in a row, side by side.

I think you know where this is going.

The young lady, a student, was attempting to take a selfie. She began crouching down in front of the first row of these delicate diadems—I imagine it was an attempt at taking a “clever” photo which made it appear she was wearing the crown. But, before she could strike a pose, she struck the first pillar, setting off the domino effect.

In an instant, at least 10 of the podiums fell—one after the other, after the other—and these true works of art came crashing down. It’s estimated the incident caused $200,000 worth of damage. Woops. (You can see the video and the article here.)

It reminded me of that first sin, in the Garden of Eden. That first, simple sin; it was mostly harmless, just eating some fruit. But it was the wrong fruit, from the wrong tree. And it was, in a sense, a self-absorbed attempt at “wearing the crown.”

In an instant, the creation—that “work of art” of which God said it was good, very good—it all came crashing down. The domino effect, that chain reaction, had begun and we’ve been feeling its effects all around us. Its ripples have caused havoc ever since.

This past Sunday, our reading from Isaiah 55 caught my attention. In it, God is speaking, talking about a couple of things. On the one hand, He’s speaking of His Holy Word going out into the world. He says that, just as water brings forth vegetation, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

God’s Word is powerful. When He speaks, things happen. When God speaks, a new chain reaction begins. Through the Word of God, simple water becomes life-changing, life-giving! Through the Word of God, sinners are confronted with the Law, while met with the grace, the love, and the forgiveness of God. Through the Word, children and adults alike grow in our faith in Jesus, and we learn to follow Him. Through the Word, simple bread and wine miraculously become, also, Christ’s Body and Blood, working forgiveness, life and salvation. Through the Word, we are given promises, and hope, and so much more! That’s a divine domino effect.

God’s Word is powerful. When He speaks things happen.

But then the Almighty seems to change direction in Isaiah 55. He speaks of trees clapping, mountains singing, and peace and joy on the earth. In other words, He speaks of the day when Christ shall come again, and we will be with Him forever. Along with all of that He says, “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle...” (Isaiah 55:13)

In other words, He’s telling us what we get by faith in Jesus; what we get because of the Word. And what we get is eternal life, full of peace and joy. What we get is that idyllic scene of trees clapping and mountains singing because sin and death have ended. What we get is a reverse of sin’s curse!

In Genesis 3:17-18, God revealed the reality of sin’s curse: “…cursed is the ground because of you…thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” That’s all part of the domino effect. But now, in Christ, Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle...”

In Jesus, we get the reverse of sin’s curse. In Jesus, the Word made flesh, we get a domino effect full of grace, love, and forgiveness. In Jesus, we have the promise of restoration of the Creator’s “work of art.” In Jesus, all the faithful baptized—the living and the dead—will be raised up once again, like upright dominos set in place, never to fall again.

Come soon, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Written By: Pastor Jonathan Meyer