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Apocalypse

I spent my youth in an Apocalyptic milieu. Apocalypses abounded, both secular (The Day After, The Man Who Saw Tomorrow), and religious, specifically the evangelical model of The Late Great Planet Earth and A Thief in the Night. Though my family was Mainstream Protestant, not Evangelical, I was still surrounded by this in the culture and took it into my heart. As a teenager, I thought long on the Apocalypse, and gave much thought to a movie on the subject.

But, being not evangelical, the movie I had in mind would have had little in common with Left Behind. For one thing, I wanted to make extensive use of the Doors song “The End.” I have always considered it one of the best invocations of the Book of Revelation I have ever heard, an opinion that would probably not have found favor with either Jim Morrison or Francis Schaeffer. For another, there was a extrabiblical element: The Weeper.

It’s hard to describe how I saw The Weeper fitting into this movie. Less a character, more of a symbol. The Weeper was one of the younger siblings of Cain and Abel. They saw Cain murder his brother; they wept over Abel’s corpse. From that moment, they were cursed to see every sin ever committed, trapped in perpetual sorrow, their wailing echoing to the ends of the cosmos. They were the unwitnessed witness to every horror ever performed by one human being against another: every blow, every swindle, every theft, every lie. They could do nothing, only watch and sob.

The sorrows of the Weeper would be interwoven into the film. As humanity descended into ultimate degradation, there would be odd quiet moments when the main characters could hear the Weepers’s sorrow, though they did not recognize what it was they heard. As the corruption reached its climax, the sound could not be denied, would be heard throughout the world, maddeningly.

So it would continue until the very end. The final action of Unveiling, the very last, after the Last Trump had sounded, after the dead had been raised, after Universal Judgment and Redemption , after the Remaking of Heaven and Earth, would be for Jesus to come to the Weeper and comfort them. For the first time, they would cease crying.

That would be the end of the movie.

There is no movie, of course, and never will be. I can’t say I seriously envisioned making it. But it still seems that, in a just universe, there should be a Weeper. There should be something to sorrow perpetually. The World deserves it. May the time come when the Weeper shall be comforted, and the Weeping end.

Maybe we’ve got this ass backwards. Maybe, on the Judgement Day, we will be doing the judging.

That is, God will allow us a taste of his omniscience, just enough for us to see everything we have ever thought and done, in context, to feel empirically all the effect we had on the world, to honestly see ourselves for the first time. We will judge ourselves.

Practically all of us will elect for damnation, of course.

And the task of Jesus, the Savior, will be to talk us out of it.

I don’t know what you’d call this: a music video idea, a film short, a daydream. What it is is:

The Seals have been opened, the plagues unleashed. All works of humanity lie in ruins; the bloody seas sit dry. The End is come.

Gabriel Archangel, having already blown the Last Trump and called up all the dead, tucks his instrument under his arm and announces

“Children of Earth, your Judgement awaits in the morn. Until then, as you will.”

Despite the sun and moon having toppled from the sky, night falls. This once and for all establishes that day and night are metaphysical conditions and not dependent on the earth’s rotation around a star, but at this point, no one really cares. Everyone who has ever lived is alive. They stare at each other, unsure at first what to say.

Children are innocent
Teenagers are fucked in the head
Adults are even more fucked up
And elderlies are like children

Those that died in the Tribulation are hugged by those that survived. Parents find children, spouses reunite, friends embrace each other. A constellation of campfires appears somehow, without need of lighting. People talk.

Will there be another race
To come along and take over for us?
Maybe Martians could do
Better than we’ve done

Odd as it might seem, no one dwells on the coming morning. Maybe there’s an unspoken consensus that there’s nothing to be done about it, or maybe there’s just too much past to discuss. “Why did we do that? Or that?” By the light of the last fires, much of what was one time deemed majestic now seems a bit silly.

We’ll make great pets
(we’ll make great pets)
We’ll make great pets
(we’ll make great pets!)

Secrets are admitted and scandals revealed. Nobody cares anymore. Anger flares, but soon fades. Since everyone knows that perfect justice is hours away, why argue? The truth will out soon enough. Better to enjoy the company while you can.

My friend says we’re like the dinosaurs
Only we are doing ourselves in
Much faster than they
Ever did

As the hours pass, the talk dwindles. Flank by flank, leaning on shoulders, the people watch the fire and simply are, next to each other, there at the end of all things.

We’ll make great pets
(we’ll make great pets)
We’ll make great pets,
(we’ll make great pets)

“It is just me, or is it brighter than it was a moment ago?”

“Yeah.”

With no sun, there is no dawn. Beat by beat, the sky lightens. The Children of Earth rise from their seats around the dying fires, brush off their tuchuses. Angels muster above them.

Last embraces, last kisses. “Good luck.” “You too.”

They stand next to each other, spontaneously linking hands. The sky is bright now, far brighter than any daylight. All that is old is passed away. The Children of Earth brace themselves for the revelation of justice and mercy.

We’ll make great pets,
(we’ll make great pets)

Every day I pray for the Parousia. Every day I say “Maranatha!” Every day I long that this might be the day that sees no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

Yet when I do so, I am reminded that it has generally been held throughout history that the Parousia shall be preceded by a time of chaos and horror and death, not on just any random day.

But then I look at the world, and see that, if the Parousia is dependent on chaos and horror and death in the world, then it might as well come on any day as well as any other.