Nothing is what it seems
There we sat our eyes glazed, fixed to what was transpiring. What civility was being tarnished by these ghastly acts? Can this man truly be doing what I am bearing witness to? It cannot be real! I want to believe. I want to be a part of this. What authority does this man wield? I must be near. I must understand. I must be careful.
This is what was going on in my mind as I watched the film, The Illusionist. I was utterly mesmerized by this film. The story of love, reality, death, mystery, and power catapulted me into a frenzy of contemplation. The tagline of the publicity campaign is “nothing is what it seems”, truly this is an insight into the gospel.
The messiah is coming! The messiah is here! The messiah has been crucified. What?!? This cannot be true. The messiah was to lead us. He was to become our king and return to us governance and a kingdom... There must have been many astonished and broken people when Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. We have the benefit of millennia of theology, discussion, and revelation to form and shape our understanding of the cross. The citizens of the first century have witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus. What do they believe? I imagine in the sharing of the good news must include the account of Christ’s death and something to the effect “nothing is what it seems”.
I have encountered many circumstances in my life that ask me to suspend my disbelief and trust, have faith if you will. The common theme in these encounters has been my inability to suspend my disbelief and the terror that was instigated as I realized that I was not in control. In one of these encounters I was given this counsel, “The blood of Christ offers you the blessing of not believing what you see or feel…you are bound to the promise of provision and abundance not matter your current predicament.” At the time I held on to it without understanding it. I just wanted relief from the hurt and torment of my disbelief.
I make the connection today that “nothing is as it seems”. The illusion that many folk held on to of Christ is overcome by the resurrection. As we enter into the last few weeks of Ordinary time and enter into Advent and the coming of our Lord I am meditating on the idea of “nothing is as it seems”. The passion, the annunciation, the fall, the Passover, the crucifixion, the birth of Jesus all form a witness to us. A witness that seems amazing, difficult to believe…yet it is most amazing and real.
It is faith that allows us to realize the thin boundary that exists between illusion and reality, love and obsession, public service and self-interest, life and death. It is faith that brings us in from the shadows of life and lights the path to Christ. Faith permeates the depraved and sinful nature of creation. Faith departs our nakedness and covers us with the blood of Christ. Faith in our connection to the mystery of God via the intercession of Christ illuminates the illusion. Faith proclaims “nothing is as it seems”.