Though The Keepers mounts an impressive argument for a web of corruption that encompasses everything from the Roman Catholic Church to the justice system, numerous gaps remain. In this sense, White is honest about the fact that his main goal was not to solve Cesnik’s murder, but to give a voice to those who continue to suffer. It probably won’t come as a surprise that the show’s end is far from neat and tidy. If you’re looking for closure, The Keepers isn’t for you.
So who precisely is The Keepers for? It’s for people whose stories are ignored and who continue to suffer in silence. It’s for people who recognize that grave injustice is everywhere, hidden in plain sight. It’s for people whose blithe avoidance of such subjects has hardened into a callow form of moral complacency. It’s for those who recognize that the world is broken beyond all human repairs. It’s for those who long for cosmic justice.
In the largely affluent West, we’re not often comfortable talking about God’s justice and righteousness, preferring instead to place the emphasis on his love, mercy, and grace. For those of us in frontline ministry, too, there’s a real temptation to sidestep some of Scripture’s more uncompromising passages. Contrary to popular belief, however, both Testaments display vengeful material. (Consider, for instance, the Book of Revelation, which may be the most violent and unsparing book in the Bible.)
While grave injustice may disturb us, though, it also has a way of opening our eyes to the need for a divine judge—and few things will confront us with this need like victims whose oppressors manage to avoid any real consequences for their actions. Maskell is now deceased, his many crimes unpunished. Cesnik’s death is still unsolved, her murderer(s) either free or safely tucked away in an unassuming grave.
In the concluding chapter of his magnificent book, Exclusion and Embrace, Miroslav Volf examines the tension between the “crucified Messiah” and the fierce “Rider” upon the white horse who comes to “strike down the hopelessly wicked.” Is this really the same God? It’s an old question that hasn’t gone away. Volf contends, “The cross is not forgiveness pure and simple, but God’s setting aright the world of injustice and deception.” God’s righteousness is contingent upon his punishment of those who unrepentantly impugn his goodness and mercy. That includes those who callously exploit the innocent.
It is here that The Keepers reminds us of the need for cosmic justice, of the fact that we have reason to rejoice over God’s righteous judgment. As Volf says, “The violence of the Rider on the white horse, I suggest, is the symbolic portrayal of the final exclusion of everything that refuses to be redeemed by God’s suffering love. For the sake of the peace of God’s good creation, we can and must affirm this divine anger and this divine violence, while at the same time holding on to the hope that in the end, even the flag bearer will desert the army that desires to make war against the lamb.”
The villains at the center of the The Keepers escape earthly justice. As Christians, however, we recognize that no one escapes the living God. For some, his presence is bliss eternal. For others, it is a fearful prospect indeed.