Yes, it has been almost 9 months since our last Tardis Theology, in which we left you in a cliffhanger. I’m taking back up the series now, and hope to carry forward. Thanks all for your patience while I put this series on hold.
The Doctor, by nature, is not a warrior.
We know from the earlier episode “Dalek” that the Doctor had been thrust into the role of warrior during the Last Great Time War, that he ended the cosmic destruction by destroying both his own race and the race of the Daleks, and that his conscience bears deep scars.
Now, in this second part of a thriller set in the London Blitz of World War 2, we see the Doctor working to bring healing, not destruction.
Bringing healing is hard work when you and your companions are being chased by a mob of humans who have mutated into gas-mask wearing zombies.
The Doctor’s new companion, Captain Jack Harkness, wields a sonic blaster that enables them to blow a hole in a wall, and then reconstitute the wall so the zombies can’t follow. The Doctor looks at Jack’s weapon and the following dialogue ensues:
The Doctor: Sonic Blaster. Fifty-first century. Weapons factory at Villengard?
Captain Jack Harkness: You’ve been to the factories?
The Doctor: Once.
Captain Jack Harkness: Well, they’re gone now, destroyed. Main reactor went critical, vaporized the lot.
The Doctor: Like I said. Once…. There’s a banana grove there now…. I like bananas. Bananas are good.
The Doctor none to subtly communicates that his one visit to the weapons factory was to destroy it so that it could become a banana grove.
There’s one of the touch points in this episode: the move from destruction to production.
The move from swords to plowshares.
It’s an image from Isaiah, but Micah also uses it to describe the peace that comes with the long expected reign of the Lord:
“Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths….They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Selection from Micah 4:2-3)
Jesus, however, tells us that we are to be instruments of peace: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Paul, meanwhile, instructs us “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19)
In the episode, the Doctor has to struggle to bring about healing that brings peace. He has to solve the puzzle of why everyone is turning into zombies. But he solves it. Everybody lives. And the Doctor dances for joy.
There’s still a war on, though. Remember, the episode takes place in the middle of World War 2.
And this reminds us, our peacemaking mitigates against the destructive forces of sin, but sin persists. We are instruments of Christ, but we await His return to complete His work. We work for peace, we celebrate with joy, and we wait for Christ’s completion of his work.
Watch: Doctor Who, Season 1, Episode 10 “The Doctor Dances”
Read: Micah 4:2-5, Matthew 5:3-10, Romans 14:13-15:4
1) Consider Jesus call to be peacemakers in the context of all the beatitudes. How do they relate? How do these other beatitudes help you understand the challenges of peacemaking?
2) Consider Paul’s challenge for peace among fellow Christians. In what ways does this challenge you in your church, in your neighborhood, and with other people in your life?
3) Consider the verse: “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:2). In what ways does peacemaking go beyond cessation of hostility? What does it mean to build up our neighbor?
4) Consider the passage in Micah. It speaks of the hope of the peace that God will work at the end of all things. How does this hope give you strength to work for peace in your own community?