Apocalypse! It seems that every day we are assailed with news from every corner of the globe that threatens to overwhelm many aspects of our lives and possibly destroy the world we know. Inflammatory words such as deadly, fatal, hopeless, disastrous, catastrophic, and so on enter into many media articles, and they affect us – either with a sense of hopelessness and fear, or anger and frustration.
As if that is not enough, Hollywood gets into the act, further inflaming the fear. Apocalyptic themed movies are all the rage – touted as thrilling – they envision the end of the world unless heroic human action is taken. One offering from last year seems relevant to the news just now – X-men: Apocalypse, is about a huge, godlike creature who awakens after sleeping for a millennium or two. He claims to have created the world and that, upon waking, is sorely disappointed with the poor state of affairs mankind has gotten itself into. His plan? To destroy the world and begin again.
This of course won’t happen because the superhuman X-Men will intervene, the apocalypse will be stopped and all will be well!
Unfortunately, this portrayal of the world presents a distorted, violent view of both the Creator and Her creation. And, that prevents us from seeing and understanding the Divine in a way that brings a sense of calm and practical healing into our lives.
The belief that the end of the world will come in violent destruction is nothing new. There are apocalyptic writings in many Judeo-Christian stories and visions , such as Noah and the ark, Daniel, and the book of Revelation by John. To many, those writings present a view of God as having a human personality, with its good and bad sides, and showing definite favouritism and vengeful tendencies. But the healing ministry of Jesus brought to light a different view of God. That view emphasized a God who is wholly good; who loves, protects, restores, renews and cares for creation. To me, Jesus clearly taught the unvarying spiritual nature of the Divine. This view engages us to therefore also consider a fresh view of man in that image and likeness.
And, Jesus went on to prove what he taught. He walked on water, stilled storms, healed even the most fearsome of diseases and stood up to people engaged in wrongdoing. He changed hearts, behaviours and the health of those willing to listen. He did not have the superpower laser eyes, fire-breathing abilities or massive muscles to conquer evil in all its forms. In fact, he rejected the “warrior king” view that the public was – and still is – looking for. He also rejected the idea of God as a destructive, vengeful power. Instead, he said:, “ Every hair of your head is numbered by the father” – just one of his constant reminders of the intimate depths of God’s persistent and protective love for His creation.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the stormy news and fatalistic images of disaster and destruction, I find it helpful to follow Jesus’ gentle command to go into the closet of prayer. I get really clear on God as divine Love and the Creator of only good, rather than the current X-men view. In so doing, feelings of anger, fear, frustration or helplessness melt. Refreshed, I am once again able to feel that unbreakable spiritual connection to the divine Love that heals.
It is then that I begin to notice the evidence of a good creation that is actually all around us, and to experience again the healing truth of St. Paul’s words:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This article was published in the Times Colonist HERE