Thursday Extra: Imagine a Perfect World

Imagine a perfect world, full of splendour, excitement, peace and all the good things that make life worth living. With all the best entertainment, food, sports, music, theme parks, shops, theatres and multiplexes, where all the prices are fair and everyone has enough money to enjoy them. Where work is rewarding and morale is always good, no one is in need or exploited in any way whatsoever. Where there is respect and kindness and all relationships work out as expected.

Then imagine a dark figure, a kind of Darth Vader, stepping unexpectedly out of the shadows, with a plan to ruin it all. And little by little, person to person, he spreads a virus. So people become greedy and selfish and manipulative. And the perfect world becomes something else, something sour. The best of everything gradually takes on a tarnish, and life becomes a mere shady replica of its initial glory. And death and sadness begin to reign supreme.

Then imagine a young, poor couple, with plans to marry and make a life together, in an oppressed and bitter place where that kind of thing is not easy. A couple living in a corrupt country where the virus is violently dominant and so many people long for a better life. Imagine the woman discovering that she is pregnant, and when her fiancé grills her about this she has a weird, other-worldly story to tell. She talks of a stranger, who had the look of an angel about them, who told her she was going to have a baby, and that the child would grow up and change everything. And it made her feel somehow sad and happy at the same time.

Imagine 30 years later and this baby is now a man, a local guy quietly getting on with his life, working as a builder with his dad, earning money, spending it, paying his taxes, eating, sleeping, dancing, laughing and sometimes crying too. And imagine if that man disappeared for seven weeks, and when he returned he told folks it was time for change, but the change wouldn’t be what they hoped. He wasn’t going to fix all the broken down entertainment places and annihilate the corrupt and powerful people; instead he was going to spend time with people on the margins, those who were struggling to get by; and after that, step into the shoes of the greedy and the selfish, so that he looked like the biggest perpetrator of all that had gone wrong. And he would embrace death, and give in to that old virus, and in doing so would somehow bump start life all over again.

Imagine the world continuing on its broken way in spite of this. Only discovering, person to person, little by little, the full story – that the builder wrestled death, lost and died. Only to be seen again three days later, alive and well. No longer under the curse of that old virus and telling a new story, not so much about a shiny, happy world all fixed and working perfectly again, but about the ground work laid for the building of a new kind of construction, a new way of life. Now imagine him inviting us to take part in his new story…

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