Saturday, March 7, 2009

Playing God

Today's Word:
Deuteronomy 26:16-19
(God makes his covenant with the Israelites)
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
(Oh, that I might be firm in keeping the law of the Lord)
Matthew 5:43-48
("Love your perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.")

From "the news":

ORANGEBURG, SC–Solid Snake, tactical-espionage expert, questioned the nature of the universe Monday when, moments after his eleventh death in two hours, a cruel God forced him to "Continue" his earthly toil and suffering.

"Is this all there is?" asked Snake, hiding in a storage locker while two masked guards searched for him in the hold of a cargo ship. "Is this why I was created? To suffer? Will I ever escape this endless loop of grueling labor followed by violent death?"

Snake was then discovered by the guards and cut down in a hail of gunfire.

Snake, who has been fatally shot 2,143 times in the past six months, said he does not know why God deems it necessary for him to endlessly repeat his mission, which involves sneaking aboard a hijacked military ship and discovering who stole the walking nuclear-equipped battle tank known as Metal Gear Ray.

"Why will the Lord not grant me my final rest?" asked a reincarnated Snake, crawling underneath a lifeboat on the ship's weather deck. "Certainly there must be a greater purpose for me than to kill dozens and eventually be killed myself."

Added Snake: "As Goethe said, 'Man must strive, and in striving he must err.'"

"I often wonder, as many do, whether God forces me to Continue to punish me for my sins," Snake said. "After all, I've deserted the American military, killed hundreds of guards, and betrayed my would-be lover, Meryl Silverburgh, by submitting to torture. But sometimes, like when I suicidally attack dozens of armed guards with only my bare hands, it seems that God is putting me through hell merely to amuse Himself. It just doesn't make sense."

According to Rev. Paul Flessing of Yale University's Divinity School, Snake's theosophical quandary is far from uncommon.

"We all wrestle with the Big Questions about the will of God and one's place in Creation," Flessing said. "But the important thing is to have faith and try to find meaning in one's life–or lives, as the case may be. We must remember the trials of Job, whose faith God continually tested. It seems Snake is going through something very much like that, with this constant pattern of 'Continues.' The purpose will become clear to him in the end."

Sidling along a companionway toward the ship's lounge, Snake considered his ultimate fate.

"What awaits me at the end of my lives' journeys?" Snake asked. "Is there a Paradise on the other side?"

The hallway then filled with nerve gas, fatally asphyxiating Snake.

(Edited from source:

I deliberately withheld the source of this story until the end. I wonder how long it took you before you understood this story is just that - a farce, set as the news of the day.

I also wonder if you - as I did when I ran across a printout of the story taped to the door of a co-worker's office - could in some way identify with the helpless video game character, Snake.

Do our lives at times resemble that of a hamster on a wheel? Aren't there occasions when even the most devout among us question whether or or not our experiences are some sort of cruel divine joke?

Sure there are. In the wake of my personal firestorm, I entertained that concept. I saw myself tainted. I thought of the estranged apostle Judas, the betrayer. Okay, if you follow the theological storyline in the Gospels it becomes readily apparent that those out to get Jesus would have done so eventually without Judas' betrayal. Still, I find myself taking pity on him. I can make a stretch and even at times identify with him, sad as it seems.

Some will immediately dismiss those thoughts as temptation. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. Remember Snake's quoting Goethe? We don't succeed without failure. We don't support without denial. We don't protect without betrayal. We don't love without indifference or hatred, because that's how we manage to define things. Oh that I could transform my family and I and instantly remove us to that Promised Land! But it's within my ability to make the here and now an image of that vision. I will keep trying, even should I lose count of my 'mini-lives' lost. I will live life; have faith, believe, and hope...that...there's....

No better place on earth
Than the road that leads to heaven
No other place I'd rather be
No better place on earth
Than the road that leads to heaven
No better place to be

Well I know this road
Has a final destination
But I also know
That if we're only looking for the prize that's waiting
We'll miss so much along the way
'Cause Jesus came to give us life in the here and now
(Here and now!!)
And to show us that there's...

No better place on earth
Than the road that leads to heaven
No other place I'd rather be
No better place on earth
Than the road that leads to heaven
No better place to be

I know this path we travel along
Is very straight and narrow
But I've looked down other roads along the way
And from all I've seen I can say without a doubt there's...

(Repeat Chorus ad infinitum)

--No Better Place (1990)
Steven Curtis Chapman

No comments:

Post a Comment