Yesterday was the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11. The fact that almost anyone can write or say “9/11” is sufficient proof of the enduring effect 9/11/01 has had on our national psyche.
So often we look toward the next disaster, the next catastrophe. Today, the day after such a somber remembrance, I am in need of a eucatastrophe. Today in the light of what sometimes feels like cascading brokenness in the world I need a eucatastrophe.
“Eucatastrophe” appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories.” It means when the protagonist in a story faces certain doom but is saved in the end from that doom. For Tolkien, the Christian Gospel offers the ultimate eucatastrophe — the Incarnation the eucatastrophe of “human history” and the Resurrection the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation.
I long for eucatastrophe in my life and our world. 9/11 reminds me how broken our world remains – and how insoluble these problems seem. We are about to launch air attacks against ISIL, for instance. The human story doesn’t seem to be one that can end well.
But it does. It will. It must. The hope of the Gospel is more than that my soul will survive into eternity with God. It is that the unfolding and endless catastrophes of human history will end in eucatastrophe.
So this Friday after 9/11 I look for that day, I long for the echoes of its arrival. It will come. It has to.