Saturday, September 09, 2006

χ for Χριστός

I watched the movie "V for Vendetta" last night. If you don't know the story, a masked vigilante reeks havoc on a futuristic British government which has become a fascist dictatorship. Because of the fear of past terrorism and biological warfare, a hyper-controlling government takes over to institute order. V was a byproduct of horrific "medical" testing likened to the Nazi medical experiments on POW's in WWII. His mission was to take down the government and give the power back to the people of Britain.

There were several themes that caught my attention. In many ways, V not only becomes the messianic figure in the movie, but also seems to use some of the same subversive tactics that we see in the Kingdom of God. Here are some of the similarities that I noticed.

1. V tells his message of freedom on November 5th, but doesn't bring about the fulfillment of the message until a year later on that same calendar day. This reminded me of how Christ came announcing the inauguration of the Kingdom and yet left us, the church, in a period of waiting for its fulfillment. V was allowing a year to pass in order to get the following he needed in order for the overthrow to work. Jesus has allowed history to unfold as he gathers together people willing to manifest the Kingdom of God on earth. The final overthrow of the kingdom of the world is yet to come. In the mean time, there are breakouts of rebellion against the powers and principalities of this world.

2. There is a scene at the end of the movie where V had mailed out his mask to everyone in London. They were asked to meet him back at the parliament building the next year on Nov. 5th if they wanted to be a part of the "new created order." As the night of the 4th came to a close, hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets in front of parliament. And they all were wearing the same mask as V. In a sense they took on the clothes, identity and image of V. This rings true of the Kingdom. We don't wait for Christ to return before we participate in the Kingdom. The Kingdom is here. We all come together as Christ followers, bearing the image of our Creator, clothed in Christ, ready to usher in a new order. Ready to see "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

3. V dies before he can see the total destruction of the government building. He passes the "new order" on to his followers to run. Jesus did the same as he died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. We have been given the responsibility of the Kingdom of God. Matthew 16:18 puts it like this: "I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven..."

4. V defeats both of the two top dogs in the government. The two main guys who were calling the shots and controlling the people were dead even before the government building blew up. Before the old order was "officially overthrown", V had already taken care of the top. There is a feeling, right before V dies, that he has just won the war even before the society has experienced any change. This is the same truth we see with Christ. It is finished. Jesus has accomplished the victory of the Kingdom of God over against the kingdom of this world. And the victory is won even before the battle begins. The future broke into the present with Jesus on the cross. And now history experiences more and more of the future as the Kingdom of God is experienced in the present.

I am not so naive as to think that these parallels are perfect. Jesus was even more subversive than V because Jesus didn't need to use violence in order to bring about victory. But there are a few themes that are weaved through this movie that sparked my attention. Themes of the Kingdom echo in our world, sometimes, in unlikely places.


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