It’s not a stretch to make a contemporary theological bridge between Kipling, the Seven Samurai and Jesus Christ. The fact that it also carries a multicultural point is a bonus.
‘For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot:
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet this Tommy sees!’
– ‘Tommy’ , Rudyard Kipling.
‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognise them by their fruits […] Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day may will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, and do mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man [or woman] who built their house on the rock.’
(Matthew 7:21-27, ESV)
The first represents Jesus, even the Church as a modern convenience when needed. Little more than a nuisance when not.
The second reflects the same orientation of the human heart. It neither welcomes the fierce offence and defence encapsulated in God’s grace and law, but begs for closer ties to it, when the enemy is at the gates.
The third, is both an indictment and a conclusion. It includes the warning of the two which preceded it. The added difference is that this commanding final stand, is a final word against double standards, hypocrisy and nominalism. These are Jesus Christ as convenience and the inconvenient Jesus Christ. From beginning to end, to beginning again, what this says is that Jesus Christ is Lord over us, before us, behind us and with us. Jesus is not a utility we master and use; an expendable solider who can be ordered around and misused. Although many may quest for the Kingdom and try to use God in order to get it. None of us can have the Kingdom if we’ve ejected God from it.
Kipling, R. 1994 Collected Poems, Wordsworth Ed (p.411)
Kurosawa, Akira. (Dir.) 1954 Seven Samurai, Toho Co. Ltd.