“He meant the Kingdom was over, the Kingdom of Heaven, it was all finished. We shouldn't live as if it mattered more than this life in this world, because where we are is always the most important place.... We have to be all those difficult things like cheerful and kind and curious and patient, and we've got to study and think and work hard, all of us, in all our different world, and then we'll build... The Republic of Heaven.”
- Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
The first few times I read His Dark Materials were in my Christian days, and as a result I (perhaps wilfully) missed out on the central humanist message. I reread the trilogy more recently, and the concept of the Republic of Heaven is so beautiful that it moved me to tears.*
This Easter, I'm grateful for the freedom I've found. I'm grateful to be the subject of no kings or gods. I appreciate this life and this world and the people in it more now than I ever did before, and I'm proud to work towards building the Republic of Heaven.
*Or it would have done had I not already been sobbing because Philip Pullman hates happiness.