Today’s guest post is from Tacy Holliday, a High Priest in the Community of Christ with a penchant for finding unusual sources for illustrating Scripture. Doctor Who fans will understand the pun in the title.
For those of you who are not familiar with the iconic British television show, Doctor Who, the lead character is the last survivor of a species called the Time Lords. I started watching the show to spend time with my dad, but it turns out that this show teaches me things about God.
As a Time Lord, the Doctor is very powerful, and he travels through time and space, often with a human companion, helping people (human and non-human). He does have a special place in his heart for humans because, when humans are at their best, they can be so amazing. So, most episodes he is saving our planet from one threat or another. Time Lords can regenerate their bodies (with new combinations of DNA and new personality quirks) a dozen times, and the Doctor has already “died” 10 times in his missions. Because he has seen so much cruelty and destruction, he is tremendously tender and compassionate.
In an episode aired (on BBC America in the USA) last season, the Doctor is traveling with two friends to the not too distant future. He arrives at a remote drilling station. It turns out that there are intelligent reptile-like creatures living deep underground who perceive the drilling as an attack on their civilization. They are sending warriors up to the surface of earth to seek revenge by wiping out humans and conquering earth. As the warriors are very close to reaching the surface, the Doctor has gathered the few townspeople at the church. He instructs them to start gathering certain items that he’ll be using to defend against the attack. One of the ladies brings a number of weapons. The Doctor instructs her to put the weapons back. He will not use those to defend the attack as he doesn’t want to escalate the situation. He’s not opposed to using force, but he likes to use cleverness to preserve all life if there is any way to do so. In another exchange, a little boy asks the Doctor if he has seen monsters before, and if he is afraid of them. The Doctor smiles at the boy and says “I’m not afraid of monsters. They’re afraid of me.”
Later in the episode, the Doctor has captured one of the reptile creatures. He goes to what would be used as an interrogation room, and he asks her what her name is. He then takes off her scary-looking mask and tells her that she’s a beautiful creature. He says how impressed he is with the technology that her society has developed, but that—sorry—he can’t let them destroy humans. After all, humans are such a spectacular race.
He must leave the creature with the townspeople because he has to go into the earth to negotiate for the release of a few people who were captured—prisoner exchange. He leaves the townspeople with strict instructions. Not only is it in their best interest to take care of the creature—that’s their bargaining chip—but also that no one has to die today. This situation calls for them to act out of the very best of who they are so that disaster can be avoided.
Doctor Who acts compassionately towards the underground creatures. He saves the humans. He calls them to be the very best of who they are because that is always, always, always what is needed most. As it says in the Book of Luke:
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”
I believe that we are called to be fireflies, not moths. We are not supposed to isolate ourselves from darkness and keep trying to break into the light, like moths do when they keep flying into a light. We are supposed to carry the light of Christ into the darkness. We are called to light the night. We are called to remember that Christ is not afraid of monsters; they are afraid of him. Christ is not concerned about storms on the path. They obey him. There is no place where we can be outside of God’s grace and providence. There is no place too dark, not to be transformed by the light.
Tacy Holliday normally blogs at In Our Maker’s Image.
Doctor Who sketch is used with permission of Graeme Reid.