An eschatology for today’s world

LIKE MOTHS to a flame, plagues, pandemics and pestilence have long, extravagant religious and theological histories. The book of Exodus meditates on the shock and awe plagues that range from locusts to the death of firstborn sons leading to the first Passover. John of Patmos, the writer of the book of Revelation, points to a host of deadly plagues from sores to darkness to unseemly weather.

It’s that pale green horse that haunts my mind right now as we feel real losses: the vulnerability of loved ones, the uncertainty of our future life together, and the uncertainty of what recovery looks like. Famine, pestilence, loss, and chaotic encounter occupy the moment. “Its rider’s name was Death”

Scripts like these do well with blockbuster films and television. The end of the world arrives with real-world disease and earthly danger or fantastical outbreaks of zombies or alien invaders. In the wake, a meagre group of survivors make their way in a disease- ridden post-apocalyptic landscape.