Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Amidst the lovers and the mourners

"Are you alive ?"
Caprica 6 - Battlestar Galactica

Almost a decade ago, my wife and I ended our twenty years of living in the South Eastern counties of England with a trip to the movies to see the splendid Bicentennial Man. The film is filled with memorable moments, but what makes this tale resonate so deeply is the desire, the journey, of the central character, Andrew, from being an oddity as a robot, to fulfilling his actual potential by becoming fully human.
Through the traumas of the Martin family that originally purchases, then adopts, and finally marries this person, we gain an insight into the 'natural' human condition - one marked by pain, suffering and death, interwoven with the precious richness of love, communion and intimacy.
It is as Andrew begins to imbibe both the beauties and tragedies of our kind for himself, that his goal becomes singular - to be one of us, fully human, even to the point of death.

I left the cinema that evening deeply moved, reminded not only of the wonder of our lives, but also reflecting upon the one who came as a man and truly tasted death for us all.

I had no idea at that time, as life changed from what it had been for the two principal decades of my adult life, that Kay and I were about to be taken by currents which would change everything - that I would loose her to cancer within a few short years, but I often think about how that film, and other events that followed, sought to impress the theological weave of creation, fall and redemption I had become aware of in the 90's, into the very fabric of everyday life - Christ, like Andrew in the film, would be there to not simply witness but profoundly accompany us through those days so pierced with joy and pain.

There is a certain excitement to sharing the truths that underlie our faith when unwrapping them properly for the first time - a little like children at Christmas - but that is very different to the moments when God truly becomes the Paraclete upon the threshing floor of experience.
The realities with which we have to do impinge upon our breath, our bones, as well as our thoughts and deeds.

Christianity teaches us well; much of life now must necessarily remain unfinished - sin and death prevent completion, but the love He sheds abroad within our failing hearts is a sure and certain investment of what will come to be.
The dreams, the joys, the ardent promises that mark our times, that define our intent, are now broken pieces amidst a pavement cracked by the woes that wound, and the fury of doubt and fear which assault and assail us with the taunt of physical death. The darkness, indeed, is often palpable, and within ourselves, there is no aid, but there is more to be said, even before the of very claim of death.

Amidst the inspired words of Solomon. we find a mercy which will bind the broken heart -
Such waters cannot quench your love. These floods cannot drown it.
There is a love which is stronger than death.

Andrew's story ends in death, as, naturally, all ours would as well, but the true man, the 'proper' man who came from heaven has conquered death itself in His own death, and His life truly allows us to become the people of a renewed, restored creation.

The future not only of this world, but of the Godhead itself, will be expressed in a love that has redeemed heaven and earth. There, then, is something that ultimately empties of all woe, and qualifies in fact, all our present trials, making them truly of value, and opening the door to becoming fully ourselves, through His love.
There is a better day, a better ending, and it is found in the God who reconciles by love.

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