Messiah, was an impromptu Netflix binge. I have to admit, it was a hard sell for me. It wasn’t the concept, which I thought was pretty brilliant, where a messianic figure walks with all men, despite their religious affiliation, which undoubtedly sparked controversy. He is called Al Masih (The Messiah) and is perceived to be Muslim, which increases political and social tensions among Palestinians, Syrians and Israelis in the Middle East, and of course draws the attention of the U.S government. It was Michelle Monaghan’s Eva, a CIA Case Officer that annoyed me. It was her brash, humorless, ever-pragmatic high-powered working woman trope that grated. I’m not sure why, but I’m sure there’s something in that too, if I delve deep enough, but I’ll spare you that today.
I watched the first few episodes, and my interest was piqued!
A Brief Public Service Announcement
As a “Christian,” forgive the quotes, it’s just that based on the tenets of Christianity, which as a Christian I’m expected to follow, and despite my being baptized, confirmed, attending church, praying etc., etc., I feel unworthy to label myself as such, particularly because there are Christian principles that I don’t necessarily agree with.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite.
That being said, my faith is the lamp at my feet, the light for my path. The teachings of Christ are important to me and I would love to live the life he led. Of course, as you can tell from previous posts, I’ve fallen short. I’m sure binging Netflix rather than binging Psalms is a cardinal sin.
Needless to say, I’ve always had immense faith in God. A God I will never try to define or speak for. A God who has come through for me time and time again-when I don’t deserve it. Especially when I don’t deserve it. If it were not for my faith, I’d surely be dead. For that I am grateful. Having only the required mustard seed size of faith, I have been able to achieve the impossible. Simply finishing this post today took an incredible amount of faith. I didn’t want to do it, but I believed I had to.
Back To Al Masih-“The Messiah”
After Al Masih been seen by friends and foes performing miracles in the Middle East (one instance involves saving the life of a young Palestinian boy who is shot by Israeli police, the other, in the United States, where after saving a Pastor’s daughter and their church from certain death by a tornado, he is arrested for entering the United States illegally.
The ACLU comes to his defense, and they want to know what his defense will be-they assume seeking asylum, religious freedom etc…but he asserts that he is doing God’s will, and he doesn’t need defending thank you very much. The CIA becomes involved and they both believe Al Masih will never get off, so they make a deal, which is intended to return him over to the CIA and the Israeli government, in the hope of suppressing further political chaos in the West Bank. At trial, the prosecution accuses him of fraud. He can’t be as religious as he claims, since as a Muslim, he doesn’t face east and pray to Mecca the requisite times of day. However, Al-Masih makes a statement despite his attorney’s advice, that forces the conservative-hardline judge’s hand. Al Masih, AKA The Messiah, is granted asylum status. Yet another miracle!
This could not have happened if not for God. By God. But God.
Al-Masih claimed that “fate” caused the judge to be born in one place (America) and that fate also granted him the seat of authority where he in charge of someone else’s fate. Al-Masih’s fate was to be born in war-torn Syria. Al-Masih asks the judge to remember that fate put him in that seat. Fate, “The Messiah” claims, is just another way to describe God’s will.
Al Masih’s followers increase. People travel from far and wide to receive his “healing.”
It’s Time To Go
“Who can know what’s next?”
He doesn’t have a plan. What is your purpose? Al Masih asks the Pastor who nearly burnt his church down due to a crisis of faith, and now has become his disciple.
“Where are you going?”
“You brought me here…”
“Who told you to do it…”
“I don’t know I just did it…like the bird”
“Be like the bird…”
Al Masih Walks On Water
“Is your world good? Is it evil?…Ask yourself, who is guilty? Who is innocent…what are you? Look at your neighbor-be brave enough to see yourself, your own reflection cast back at you…a reflection of yourself.
…Returning to your scripture will not save you. Bending to your knees will not please anyone. That time is passed. This time is now. You are the judged. You are the chosen. I am here to break the mirror so you shall see on what side you stand. What you see will be your choosing…”
Al Masih performed the miracle Jesus Christ performed, and then invited his trusted disciple Peter to do also. Peter began to walk steady, but then the wind came, and began to sink into the water. Jesus reprimands him, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14: v 29-31)
“A Magician is Honest”
I’m afraid that he’s real.
There’s something empowering here: even though they see, they still don’t believe-The CIA Operative exhausts herself with ideologies and theories to disprove the miracle, for fear of a war of “ideas.” Al Masih hasn’t blown up buildings-all he’s done is walk on water. Why do we refuse to believe in miracles?
What is Faith?
How can you be the person God intended you to be, without being honest about the person you are?
Many of us, as Al Masih suggested, turn to religious dogma searching for reasons to withhold compassion, or to uphold decisions or actions that are counterintuitive to what scripture says about faith, hope, charity and love. He is right, scripture won’t save us. Prayers can’t help us, if we are not honest about the motivation behind our belief systems.
This, my friends, is the struggle. It’s my struggle.
God speaks to all of us.
If we want to, we’ll listen.
This is faith.
Where we go or what we do with The Message is up to us.
This is faith.
We have to be brave enough to look at ourselves. It is the most terrifying thing in the world.
How will we know if we are going the right way?
If you want to know. You will.
That’s all I got folks.
As far as Al Masih, the supposed Messiah’s fate, we’ll never know because Netflix cancelled the show, which in and of itself, speaks volumes.
*Coming soon: Check out the momchairphilosopher podcast.
Until then, stay tuned, and stay blessed.