published in Change, Christianity, Environment, Grief, Spirituality by Maryanne | February 8, 2012

ARE WE WAITING FOR A SAVIOUR?

 

“The more deeply I search for the roots of the global environmental crisis, the more convinced I am that it’s an outer manifestation of an inner crisis that is, for lack of a better word, spiritual.”

– Al Gore, Earth in the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit

What if Jesus came back, as promised…but then turned around and left again because He was so disgusted with what he saw here? 

It’s an interesting question…and one I inadvertently explored when I found myself on a real humdinger of a psychological, emotional and spiritual journey after the death of my husband, John.

Perhaps journey isn’t the best word to use. Plunging headfirst into a long, dark, seemingly bottomless pit of sorrow, anger, despair, confusion, denial and self-pity is a more apt description of that perilous first year of grief.

Speaking of plunging, John’s death was the result of a preventable fall at an unsafe workplace…your basic cause & effect stuff.

But in that first year as a young and terrified widow, reality wasn’t particularly palatable.

So instead, I grabbed on to a belief that sounded pretty damn good at the time: that God has a Divine plan for all of us. It worked. Believing this temporarily made me feel better. But then I got to thinking (call me crazy) that since there is a plan, the logical next step would be to figure out what it is…at least the John and Maryanne portion of it.

Well, one thought led to another and I came up with the brilliant idea that since we all seem to be waiting around for The Saviour to return…maybe John was him. Maybe John was the long-awaited Second Coming of Christ!

Hilarious now, I know. But in my shattered state, I figured that would be a somewhat acceptable reason for John getting taken out of the game at 32…far more acceptable than something as mundane as a missing safety railing. Again, reality wasn’t cutting it in terms of the feeling-good-again portion of the program.

As a story-teller, my spectacular revelation made for some much-needed lighter moments in my book, A Widow’s Awakening.

However, now that more than a decade has past since John’s death, I’m realizing that as ridiculous as my idea was, perhaps this Saviour-belief warrants further examination.

For whether or not those of us in the West (and elsewhere in the world) are individual believers in Christianity or not, I suspect the underlying fundamental assumption that Christianity (and subsequently Western society) was founded on – Christ as the Saviour – is so deeply embedded in our individual and collective psyches, we aren’t even aware of it anymore.

If this is the case, then perhaps it wasn’t so strange that the shock of John’s sudden death dislodged, if you will, this Saviour-belief buried deep within me – and sent it bubbling it to the surface at a time when I so desperately wanted to be saved…from the hurt.

My play, Saviour, explores the notion of a Saviour – both the personal and religious kind.

Because hypothetically, let’s say Jesus did “come back,” what would he have to say about the state of our world?

A) “I love what you’ve done to the planet since I left…keep up the great work! A couple more decades and you’ll pretty much have trashed the joint – but I’ll still love you…and so will my Dad!”

Or…

B) “You IDIOTS! You’ve really mucked things up now…I can’t fix this mess! Nobody can! That’s it…I’m going back to the fluffy clouds to eat cream cheese and prance through a field of wild flowers.”

I’m betting on B) – and frankly, I wouldn’t blame Him. And I doubt he’d have used the word ‘mucked’ when the alternative would be far more appropriate.

But let’s say Jesus did stick around for the Saving part of The Plan. How exactly would He accomplish this feat? Sweep a magic wand across all the bad stuff and see it magically go away?

Possibly – but not a lot of lessons would be learned by the worker bees (that’s us)…so then the poor guy would just have to come back again in another few years. Not a particularly effective strategy for a Saviour.

That’s because perhaps it’s a myth…a story.

And myths are not supposed to be taken literally. “Stories are tools to understand valuable human lessons,” wrote Northrop Frye, “not truths in themselves.”

Please click here to listen to an audio clip (45 sec) from A Widow’s Awakening (“Sam” is John).

But I’m really beginning to wonder if, on some deeper level, many people are waiting for a Divine entity to swoop down and fix the many significant and overwhelming issues we face, such as climate change. For this would help explain our delay, as a sentient species, in taking deliberate action to significantly cut our greenhouse gas emissions.

But the reality is, the longer we wait – consciously or not – for someone else to rescue us from the perilous path we’re on, the less likely we’ll be able to save ourselves in time. And I can safely say, from personal experience, we will have to.

So as not to end this article on a completely depressing note, here’s a thought by John O’Donohue, author of Anam Cara, a Book of Celtic Wisdom: “For too long we have believed that the divine is outside of us.”

In other words, what if we are the Saviour we are waiting for?

What if the Divine (God, Allah, Brahman, the Universe, Love, etc) is alive and well in us…and it is through our actions of kindness and compassion where he/she/it manifests?

Food for thought 🙂

On a final note, I heard a man being interviewed on the radio the other day, in regards to the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Here’s what he said:

“Fantasy is what we use to avoid facing reality. Faith is what we use to give us the courage to face it.”

Now that’s an idea I can believe in…and more importantly, act on.

Maryanne Pope is the Board Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc. Maryanne is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, which is now available as an audio book. She is also the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter for God’s Country. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, here is the link to subscribe.

9 Comments

  1. Nancy on February 9th, 2012 at 12:40 am:

    You nailed it on the head Pope.
    What the muck are we waiting for?

    Reminds me of that song, “What if God was one of us? ”
    Learning to get out of my own way is a journey, thanks for the shove 🙂
    love Park

  2. Maryanne on February 9th, 2012 at 11:40 am:

    Oh boy…that’s a perfect way of putting it – “learning to get out of our own way!” I’ll say…I don’t know we manage to hold our own selves back so easily – and so often – but we sure do, don’t we?!
    Maryanne

  3. Maryanne on February 15th, 2012 at 6:32 pm:

    This comment came in from Colleen:

    Enjoyed your blog. Very thought-provoking and reminiscent of Glasberg’s class. I enjoy your literary insights. Thanks.

  4. Maryanne on February 16th, 2012 at 4:59 pm:

    Hi Maryanne,
    I had a look at your blog-o-rama, and you raise some interesting points. My personal thoughts are that a divine entity is not about judgement (as commonly postulated ) ( for example: what does he think of what we’ve done with the earth) but about acceptance and love.

    Would Adolf Hitler go to heaven? My answer would be yes – because of the divine nature of his and everybody else’s “spirit”, which exists in spite of our earthly actions.

    Wow, deep, but that’s sort of what I think. There is a great book out there called Conversations with God you should have a look at.

    But your conclusion that the Divine is within us all suits me fine, I believe that.

    Thanks for the link,
    Tim

  5. Maryanne on February 16th, 2012 at 6:26 pm:

    This e-mail just came in from Linda:

    I found your blog to be very thought provoking and challenging too. When I read the responses, I also found myself going back to the song, ‘What if God was one of us’.

    It’s such an interesting concept…and for many, I think we can be ‘God’ for one another because we can be there to LOVE one another = God is Love. So, in a sense, we can be ‘God-like’ in being there to LOVE other people.

    We can support and shore up those who need it…just being there and reaching out to others suggests that is what Jesus wanted us to do.

  6. Maryanne on February 17th, 2012 at 6:28 pm:

    This neat e-mail came in from Theresa:

    My list of passionate people who are working hard at making a difference goes on and on. So really there are many people very aware of the plights of others and the planet.

    There are, of course, those that don’t give a rats ass, but in general I’ve had the opportunity to meet those that are making a huge difference. I guess when people unite in a cause things move faster but even the lone wolf is making progress. So even if we feel alone we’re not really. We’re just all a ray of the same sun.

  7. Maryanne on February 17th, 2012 at 7:15 pm:

    This comment came in from another Tim:

    I loved your blog. It reflects many of my own thoughts on the subject. Far too many people are waiting for paradise instead of creating it. I know more than one or two who buy lottery tickets instead of actually planning. I suppose I’ve even been guilty of it myself once or twice.

    Thank you for sharing your blog, Maryanne. It got me to thinking, which is always a good thing for a writer.

  8. Maryanne on February 19th, 2012 at 9:27 pm:

    This comment came from James:

    Maybe nuclear power is a perfect example of our belief in a saviour fixing all our problems.  We’ll just bury all the pollution for now and at some point in the future science or fate will provide a solution.
     
    Your article about waiting for a saviour to save us and solve our problems has me thinking about my own approach to life and how perhaps unconciously I believe in the saviour myth.  And it’s there.  I know it is. 

    I think that everytime I buy a lottery ticket thats an example of me believing at least hoping that the lottery will be my saviour from a lifetime of work so that I can do the things I’ve always wanted to do.  Although I seem to be buying far fewer lottery tickets than I once did.  I clearly have a great deal more to think about on this idea.  Now I feel like going and buying a lottery ticket.
    >  

  9. Figure4 on February 23rd, 2012 at 10:26 am:

    Interesting thoughts! Not often do people (or Christians for that matter) consider the environment and it’s state of health a meaningful part of God’s plan. The West is very much influenced by Plato’s thoughts on earth and it’s plight – that we are all little stars caught in the dark waiting to go home to a better place. Early Christianity believed that Jesus’ second coming would coincide with a renewed earth – where “heaven” would continue right here. We all, even Christians, would do well to consider our earthly and spiritual roots and work together to make our world a better, cleaner place.

    I should also add that myths do not have any historical evidence. If you find no historical, secular evidence of Jesus, it’s a myth. If not, questions remain.

    The truth is usually found as a thin grey line running down the center two opposing ideals.

Leave a Comment

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.