The Capital of the World, one of Ernest Hemingway’s lesser known short stories, tells the tragic tale of a Spanish bullfighter who never made it into the ring. Nothing strange about that. Futility and Pessimism are always dominant themes in Hemingway’s writing. After reading The Sun Also Rises, I just sat there for a while asking myself, “Does it? Where? Not in this book, it doesn’t.” At a young age I decided to put down the Hemingway and stick to Calvin and Hobbes instead.
I find it interesting, though, how Hemingway periodically weaves noble Christian themes into his writing, themes like self-sacrifice and forgiveness.
In the Capital of the World, the main character Paco (a typical name in Spain) has a falling out with his father and runs away from home. Determined to find his son and bring him back home, the father searches for him fruitlessly all over Madrid. He eventually becomes desperate and decides to put a short ad in the paper, which reads:
“PACO, MEET ME AT THE HOTEL MONTANA. NOON TUESDAY. ALL IS FORGIVEN. PAPA.”
When Paco’s father arrives at the hotel plaza at noon on Tuesday, he cannot believe his eyes. A squadron of police officers has been dispatched there to control a crowd of 800 young men, all named Paco, all of them looking to reconcile with their father.
Everyone needs forgiveness.
I remember watching an interview on TV a few years ago where U2 lead singer Bono was being asked about his Christian faith. The interviewer was trying to make it sound like Bono was just being counter cultural by openly professing his belief in Jesus Christ. Bono simply answered that “Other people can believe what they want; I believe in forgiveness, Christianity is a religion of forgiveness, and I need that.”
That, I believe, is the message the world needs to hear: Jesus Christ came to forgive us all. For those who are seeking forgiveness, Christ’s message in the Gospel is for you.
All is forgiven.