It’s 2050, and how the world has been transformed over the past 40 years or so! In so many ways, they have been 40 years in the desert for God’s people, which is how humanity is now generally known. First, there was the terrible conflagration in the Indian subcontinent, when Al-Qaeda-inspired Kashmiri separatists and sympathisers within the Pakistani military launched a nuclear attack on New Delhi and Mumbai, leading to the inevitable Indian retaliation against Islamabad. Now, those terrible days, which spread nuclear contamination across Asia and beyond, can be seen as the dying embers of a religious extremism that seems incomprehensible to us now.
But first, there was the devastating humanitarian and economic crisis resulting from the nuclear strikes to contend with, which took us to 2033: that momentous year that started with the killings on the Temple Mount, which then spread out across Israel like a terrible second Holocaust, but culminating in those heady days of autumn when the leaders of all the world’s faiths came to make their solemn act of repentance and vows of reconciliation. Who could have predicted the miraculous collapse of the walls of separation between the faiths, just like – in another sphere – the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dismantling of the Israeli Security Wall in 2031?
Now of course, we can see the providential path that led from those first visions in Bosnia back in 1981, just ten years before the war that set Christian against Christian, and Christian against Muslim. It has taken these terrible wars and atrocities, not to mention the disastrous effects of climate change, to teach us humans that the only way we can address the challenges we face is to work together in a spirit of open democracy, brotherhood and peace. And now we can look forward to the promised new era when humanity shall live as one body, united in faith and in shared enjoyment of the fruits of the earth.