by Jason Hart
You will have, no doubt, a certain learned or even instinctive aversion to what I'm about to tell you. I'd not have believed it myself except that to it, I was a witness. Exactly twenty-five years ago, late one evening in the summer of 2167, God died. Completely devastated at the project that was mankind, He used His power to lay down His own life. It was a suicide of sorts - although, as I said earlier, you will be very uncomfortable with this thought.
Do not imagine this as a trip to the other side of the moon, or even perhaps another realm. As if God was still "here", just over "there". Neither imagine it as some type of a long journey, as if God were somehow on a personal quest to become perhaps wiser and stronger and better. This was a ceasing to be - an abandoning. An I am, becoming an I was, becoming an I'm not.
I had been to God a personal assistant, and for thirty-six incredible years we walked this world side by side. God had hand-picked me when I was fifteen, and to this day I don't know why. All I can tell you is that it had nothing to do with me. The tremendously privileged good fortune I experienced in those early days of my life, lost to me on not one single occasion, only served to accelerate my loneliness and despair after He was gone. God was finished. With me. With us. At the thought, the soul troubles.
After it happened and the universe careened forward charting it's brave new course in this brave new world, there was, as I observed, a variety of responses among mankind. Perceptible to the observant was, among atheists and nonbelievers, a collective sigh of relief. You could almost call it a celebration. The weight of an oppressive Creator lifted, they pursued their sinful avenues with a renewed sense of diligence. I watched helplessly as they joyously dragged the once sacred elements of our culture - beauty, commitment, truth, justice - and laid them upon the altars of their own sensual pleasure and slaughtered them mercilessly. Their leash slacked and autonomy teasingly beckoned them come.
This sudden flurry of debauchery was contrasted with the sudden fury of the entitled. Enraged that God would abandon them. And that the comforts, pleasantries, and structure of their lives were included in the forsaking. Among the affluent, the plentiful blessings of God, it quickly became obvious, had been their primary motivation for serving Him. As such, God's death represented, to them, the execution of a way of life. Their means to an end, having ended, became to them a curse - and they cursed Him for it.
Another group, variously titled throughout history, experienced, and this is perhaps the most intriguing response, a complete and total devastation at the realization of God's death. They were of all people, most miserable. The "remnant", the "true believers", the "God-fearers" suffered the same fate as their Master - death. Their activities were immediately halted, their prayers were cut-off mid sentence, and their peace was swallowed up in fear and doubt. The weight of their sin, once cast into the deepest sea, came tidal crashing back into their lives and crushed their spirits. Their life ended in His - and apart from Him they could do nothing.
But there was yet one more curious response among those who would, it stands to reason, be necessarily classified as nominal God followers. Shockingly, their world experienced no impact whatsoever when God died. Neither their risings, nor their lying down. Their comings, nor their goings. Their meetings and services continued on as before - complete with singing, teaching, preaching, worship, and fellowship. No difference existed, felt or otherwise, in their business or pleasure. Among these spirit-led, spirit-filled believers, the vacating of God's Spirit went undetected.
A blasphemy emerges at the idea that anyone could be so untouched at the death of God Almighty. I always thought I knew what blasphemy was. And then God died. Now, tell me, what is blasphemy then? As God's assistant, I thought I'd seen it all. But nothing could have prepared me for this.
But you must understand something. To them, the death of God was something they had gotten used to long ago. You see, to them, God's death wasn't something new - it was something old. To them, God had been dead for some time. It's just that it finally came true. And maybe to them, well, maybe He wasn't even alive to begin with. As I said, the soul troubles.
As for me? My mustard-seed faith remains in the One who chose me. I don't know why He abandoned us. But I can tell you this, I won't abandon Him. And so. For now. I hope against hope. Clinging to the strained belief that if God can lay down His life, He can take it up again. I cling to the promise of One who once showed Himself faithful. That He'll make all things right.
For today, the only thing I know with certainty is that my death is fast approaching. And my only hope is in the fact that His has already come. And that somehow, he went ahead. And cleared the way. And that if I die, He'll be there. Waiting.
And that when He sees me, He'll welcome me home.
And as for those I leave behind? I pray that maybe, just maybe, God's not done with us yet.