This week, as we Sikhs around the world commemorate the latest holocaust suffered by our people -- the events unleashed in June 1984 by the army assault on the Sikh Holiest of Holies, The Golden Temple of Amritsar, as ordered by Indira Gandhi -- my thoughts go to a news-story I read some time ago.
Jesus is returning to earth shortly, a news-flash had proclaimed one day.
"There's a 99-per-cent probability," said Rev. Audie Derryberry of Downey Bible Church (Reformed) in California.
Another good soul, Harold Camping, also from sunny California, had made similar calculations and confirmed the prognostication.
He, you'll recall, is the acknowledged expert in the field, having predicted the end of the world several times.
Well, if it is true, we've got to do something about it. We've got to get a message somehow to Jesus and tell him that this just isn't the right time. He's got to be stopped!
His return has got to be delayed. We need time to clean up a few things, at least temporarily, before he arrives. We simply cannot let him see the mess we're in.
And remember, before he even gets here, he'll have to go through immigration.
That's not good.
They'll take one look at him, and...
His long hair and beard -- it'll be unshorn and black. His tan, a dark and shiny bronze. His accent, thick and heavy, definitely Middle-Eastern.
Religion? He'll have to answer "Jew" because he would never have heard the word "Christian" before.
It's summer. If I remember his garb correctly -- from my readings from biblical scholars -- his head will be covered with a loose turban. He'll be wearing a sacky robe, an abaaya or a jalabiya robe, maybe. He'll probably be bare-footed, unless the road is very hot or he's planning a long trek -- then, he'll be wearing hippie sandals.
He certainly won't speak, understand, read or write English (or French or Spanish). I expect he may choose to respond in Aramaic, Arabic or Hebrew.
Lord, the officials will hear loud alarm bells clang between their ears!
His passport stampings and ancestry will look awfully suspicious. It'll be obvious he's been wandering all over the Middle-East, criss-crossing borders with unusual frequency. A refugee? A terrorist?
He'll need, at the very least, a special permit to get in.
But, but once he's in -- IF he's allowed in! -- what will we do? What will we say to him? What will he say?
I have consulted with a fundamentalist Christian friend of mine -- who else would I go to if I wanted expert advice on Christ? And he believes the first thing Christ will say when he arrives is: "Christians only, please. I'll meet with no one but who's a Christian. Period."
Hm-mm-mm. Well, let's assume that my friend is right. In fact, that makes the itinerary easy -- and the guest lists too. We will not repeat the Queen's mistake on her recent visit to Canada: No Sikhs will be invited to tea.
While mapping out his tour, we know he used to like going to synagogues. However, my friend tells me Jesus is now a Christian -- of the Christians, by the Christians, for the Christians. So I guess, no more synagogues! He'll want to visit Christian churches only.
But wait a sec! Which denominations, then?
Who will he want to associate with: Protestants or Catholics? Certainly not both, I bet you. Or, do you think he'll limit himself to the evangelists? Billy Graham and his buddies, maybe -- after all, he's a friend of presidents!
What are his other preferences? Should he be allowed to mingle with the Mexicans, especially the "illegal aliens"? The blacks in Harlem? The First Nations on the reservations?
And let's agree on one thing: Let's not say a word about Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, right? Let's stay mum about the plight of the Palestinians. We don't want to upset him, because he's bound to have a soft spot for his countrymen.
He'll have a lot of questions, though.
What should we tell him? What should we hold back?
The abominations of some Jews and Muslims in the Middle-East; by the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists on the Indian sub-continent? Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Punjab, 1947, 1984, the French head-covering ban, etc., etc. -- they'll all be easy to talk about because none of the victims were Christians. There's no risk it will upset him hearing about them, right? After all, they, the victims, have no hope in hell of getting into the Kingdom of God anyway.
But how much do we tell him about Ireland? Do we tell him that both sides have been killing each other -- in his name!
Or what happened in Nazi Germany? Or the steady decimation of our aboriginal peoples the world over -- after they were converted to Christianity!
Do we mention the colonies, the empires, the Raj, the World Wars?
Let's be careful.
Let's think this one out.
BEFORE we let him in!
I'm a bit worried he might decide to get crucified all over again, once he finds out all that's happened since he left. He'll want to wash away our sins all over again.
And I'm afraid that this time around we need so much absolution that just one crucifixion may not suffice.
Moreover, the events unleashed by his second coming may start a trend. What if Nanak, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna and Moses also decide to return?
I tell you, it could get awfully embarrassing.
For all of us ...
He has to be stopped at the border!