I found a great summary of the Gospel in Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
At a glance, this is the least likely place to find a summary of the Gospel. Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve is a Young Adult sci-fi fantasy quartet set in a post-nuclear future. In this future, cities have become machines that roam the world devouring smaller towns to collect resources.
The world created by Reeve is marvelous and presents several metaphors for the world as we know it. It is thoroughly enjoyable, filled with characters that have depth and who grows, beyond the struggles of their emotions and brokenness.
It is, however, quite violent. Not in the violence for the sake of violence kind of way (like Game of Thrones for example), but there are a few cringe worthy moments. Which makes it a surprising place to find the Gospel.
Where I found the gospel
For the sake of spoilers, I’ll redact all the finer details and names of what happens, because the gem that made me shed a tear only arrived in the third book – Infernal Devices.
Doctor Oenone Zero is bio-mechanical engineer who has a crisis of faith in the cause she’s been fighting for her whole life. As she wrestles with the inner turmoil, Oenone visits the collection of temples and worship houses of the gods of the past (I.e. our present day).
On the first of these visits she passes through the temple of various gods before she ends up praying to ‘a god nailed to a cross’. Oenone is drawn to this God, because of the “quiet nature” of this section of the temple.
Near the end of the book, when she achieves her goal of undermining the resistance, she faces certain death. In that moment, instead of panic, her thoughts drift to the God nailed on the cross.
She thought, if there is a God out there who could understand what she’s going through, it is the one who suffered and died like she would now. At which point she prayed to that God, and I shed a tear as the Gospel cut into me.
The Gospel is really that simple
I think, of all the world religions I know of, there is only one that tells the story of a God that came down to suffer with us.
Unlike the other religions and gods, he was born in a stable. Lived in the backwater region of a backwater country. So backwater that Roman officials were sent to govern as punishment. He wasn’t rich, and Isaiah says,
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”Isaiah 53:2
He isn’t a God unaccustomed to our suffering, or without compassion of our brokenness. He’s the God we can turn to, and who won’t show us away because of our weakness.
I am grateful to Philip Reeve for including Oenone Zero’s character and her journey of faith in Infernal Devices. It was a beautiful reminder that God isn’t a lofty ideal we’re pursuing, but a Person who knows what we’re going through, and Who can help us through it.