April 16, 2009

This is a Story about a Story: Lazarus & Abraham's Bosom

This is a story about a story.

There once was a special ship designed for a singular purpose. This craft was unlike any previous and any to follow it. In ways, this space craft was irreproducible for never had humankind seen the likes of cooperation and never again would humankind see the likes of cooperation that it took to manufacture such an incredible vessel. All, yes, all of the world’s nations came together to build the ship that would become named Lazarus.

Yet, it was not just the cooperation that afforded the uniqueness of this event. As you'll soon understand, no two Lazarus’ could exist, for that would mean earth’s resources would have been completely depleted. Yes, that’s right. It took half of the world’s natural resources and all of the earth’s human resources to create and build such a thing. It was actually because of the depletion of natural resources that Lazarus was dreamt up. The skies were all fouled up, the water (at least the potable water) had been mixed with death, and the earth injected with venom.

So, all had a dream, a dream of hope. Hope misdirected. Hope nevertheless.

Lazarus was created for a single mission: “Abraham’s Bosom.” Because humanity had become too "rich" in existence on earth, the only way to continue such lifestyles was of course to escape the place humans had called home since the beginning. Abraham’s Bosom is code for Mars' colonization. Lazarus was created for a single journey to Mars. There would be no return trips, for there was not enough fuel or resources.

Although only half of the world’s population (which had become ever shrinking due to the inhospitable planet (due to the richness of life I might add)) were allowed to escape. The journey to “Abraham’s Bosom,” the gathered coalition of a new world consisted mostly of the "have nots." It only seemed most appropriate that it be the poorest of the poor, those who had suffered at the hands of rich who created such a beautiful, full, and dying earth home be the beneficiaries of Lazarus' journey.

Why should those who scourged the earth with their brilliance, comfort, and technological advancement be allowed to leave their own gift: earth uninhabitable? Well, because they are the ones who came together with this plan to escape it all, to leave the poor behind, and create new life somewhere else. Why hope for a better earth when you can create one on a different planet? A reset button. So, as too often is the case, the powerful and rich misdirected the homeless and increasingly earthless.

For you see, Lazarus was hardly created to make it to Mars. Rather, the vessel's design and nature was to launch into the void of space as a giant, sealed casket, leaving enough people on earth to start all ever again. Lazarus would never make it to Mars, yet the earth would never be restored pristine. The latter group whose richness of life had conquered the grass, soil, and sea wailed out for their injustice through the silent voice of depression and loneliness. Life on earth would be lost not to polluted skies or seas, but to polluted hearts and souls. The former group, though the sacrifice of the first, found ill pleasure in this hope away from hope, hope against the odds of the universe. Maybe Lazarus would arrive to its destination.

But, this is a story about a story.

The real story is what happened thousands of years after this most inhumane and dreadful occurrence. Although the Lazarus and Abraham’s Bosom parable was passed around as a reminder to care for the earth initially, although the writer of this tale meant to call people’s minds to justice, creation care, and love, although the point was to never really say that such things had happened, but rather to point to the realities of ecological and economical crises; somehow humans missed the point.

Hope misdirected and hoping against all odds, all began to read the story of Lazarus as history. Some asked if there were records of the enormous ship. Others pondered the realities of life on Mars. Still others couldn’t figure out what ever happened to the people aboard Lazarus. Somehow, all had missed the point and covered their responsibilities of new life and care with befuddling questions and stark facts about what had "actually happened."

Inspired by Luke 16:19-31 (and N.T. Wright's interpretation of it found in Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church).

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