I overheard two colleagues talking recently about the interminable conflict between Israel and Palestine.
One of them expressed a wish for an alien race (like the one from the 1980’s mini-series “V”) to occupy the planet for ten years and resolve this intractable issue on humanity’s behalf.
There are a couple directions I could run with this snippet of conversation. I could talk about a similar plot I came up with for a short sci-fi story. I could riff on the irony of wishing for an invading army to occupy a planet in order to terminate a so-called invading army’s “occupation” of a country. Instead, I think I’ll take note of the following:
In his own way (and I’m sure unintentionally), my colleague has expressed a Biblical truth: humans are incapable of managing our own affairs. We’ve made a mess of things. Everything. Every. Thing. There is no aspect of the material universe and human experience in it that has not be corrupted. All of our relationships, individually, communally, nationally and internationally are broken and dysfunctional. In the film Princess Mononoke by Miyazaki, a wandering monk tells the hero, who is on a journey to remove a curse that is upon him, that there’s nothing special about his curse. He states flatly, “The whole world is under a curse.” It’s a curse that humanity has brought upon itself.
I couldn’t help thinking about Jesus when I heard this man’s comment. One day Jesus is going to come from “above” like an alien invasion, take control of the Earth and put an end to this same curse. It won’t be for a mere ten years, or even a thousand years. It will be forever. As it says in the digital copy of the Scots’ Book of Common Prayer on my iPod, “world without end”. And his rule will be on humanity’s behalf, for our benefit. In fact, it will be his humane rule that will establish the context in which genuine humanity will thrive.
I could leave it here, but I think it’s important to note that Jesus’ return won’t be an invasion. He’s not a an alien, a stranger, a foreigner. He’s the True Man and the world’s True King. He’ll be coming back to claim what it rightfully his. His return will be a reclamation.