Friday, November 15, 2013
On Exploding Heads and the Kingdom of Heaven
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
anand no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”
Then he said to his disciples,
“The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” Lk 17:20-25
Channel surfing last Wednesday I watched a snippet of a History channel production that was going to reveal secrets of the Bible!!!! Not usually my thing, except that the only other acceptable option to watch was a Nova production on the JFK assassination which had “new” facts that showed that Oswald was the only shooter. Okay. Not being in the mood to watch Kennedy’s head explode in slow motion over and over again, I flipped back to the History channel…but that was a mistake, because now it was time for my head to explode!
It was the same old and reductionist theories about Jesus and His kingdom, which -- for those of you who are ready to take a secularized leap of faith -- has nothing to do with a heavenly kingdom, or even a church for that matter! No way! That was all added later on by misguided, power hungry, misogynistic and/or ignorant leaders of the early Christian church. Leaders who were trying to justify their doctrines by creating a divine messiah out of an itinerant preacher/ zealot / nice dude (whichever you prefer to sell your book) therefore obscuring His true message until modern intellectuals could sort it all out. Thank heavens (by which I do not mean life beyond this world, no way, that would be ignorant, and anyway, where is the hope in that?)! As for the Kingdom of God it was here in this political view or there in those subversives against that governmental system. It might even be me, myself, and I, who knows… but it was not supernatural.
It is also not an honest and complete assessment of the message of the Gospel, which is good news beyond your deepest desire, and which emerges like a lightning flash even in the darkest most hellish, hopeless places in this world. The companions of Maximilian Kolbe during their torturous deaths glimpsed it, and I do not think the banal theories of TV scholars could ever explain how or why their deaths differed from the deaths the Nazi’s were hoping to give them; deaths that were supposed to be used as a horrific reminder that there was no hope for their prisoners, either surrender your humanity or suffer horribly and die like an animal. With the Kingdom of Heaven so powerfully present in Maximilian Kolbe, those prisoners did neither, they died with heaven overtaking them.
In the end, my husband and I gave up on TV and streamed Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which may explain the extreme heckling tone of this post). I apologize for that, but well…my head exploded!