It’s here – the end is nigh! A wonderful, amazing, long-running manga has finally come to a close.
No, not that one. No, I’m writing about Claymore.
At the end of September, and after a 13-year-run, Claymore finally concluded. So obviously, it took me almost two weeks to finally get around to reading the last chapter. But I must say, though the last entire half of Claymore hasn’t nearly lived up to the first half, the final few chapters were very, very good.
But maybe I’m just saying that because I feel they reflect something even greater than the manga itself.
If you’ve been reading the last few months, you’ll notice that Teresa of the Faint Smile, whose shocking death brought notoriety to Claymore many years ago, has returned. Clare has transformed into her mentor, and Teresa, the strongest claymore to have ever lived, is the only one powerful enough to finally destroy Priscilla.
But is it really Teresa who is victorious? Well, it is and it isn’t. In an internal dialogue, Teresa explains that she appeared because Clare’s wishes for and about her, and because of all that Clare had done – improving herself and building community with those around her. Because of all this, Teresa was able to reappear. And though Teresa’s physical embodiment will now disappear completely, she’ll remain with Clare in spirit, continuing to be with her. And as Clare embraces her mentor – indeed, her mother figure – she knows this to be true – Teresa will always be with her.
The similarities to the Holy Spirit’s appearance in a believer’s life are striking. As with Teresa, the Holy Spirit empowers us – it teaches us, convicts us, moves us and even gives us strength and words to overcome in the name of Christ. As Teresa is able to do the impossible working through Clare, the Holy Spirit can help the believer to achieve things she or he would never otherwise think possible. And indeed, as Teresa will remain in Clare, in an invisible form, the Holy Spirit dwells within children of God.
I wonder, too, if the disciples bade Christ a tearful farewell as they gazed up in amazement when He ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11), as Clare did when saying bye to Teresa. In both cases, though, the physical individuals – as Christ made it clear he was in physical form after resurrecting – had to leave. But perhaps the disciples could later rejoice in having had their Savior with them, physically, again, as Clare is all “smiles and tears” at the same, because remember this – both Teresa and Christ had to die so that their “children” could live.
Without Teresa’s death, Clare would never have defeated Priscilla; she would never, in fact, have become a claymore at all. And Priscilla would have eventually overwhelmed and defeated their world in her hatred.
And in Christ, we, too, are freed from hatred – from the sin that we cling to, that we desperately desire, and which ultimately fails us. Christ died out of love for us. And his blood, his perfect blood, was the only thing that could save us.
Teresa looked down at a weak, parentless child and loved her. God looked at us and loved us, though we were worse than weak – we fought against God with our every fiber of our being, rejecting him in hatred and embracing ourselves. And yet, he said that he loved us so much that he would die for us.
And that’s why Claymore is a gospel story, because it’s through a most ferocious and gracious love, and only through it, that the impossible can be done – hatred and sin is gone, and we are alive!