Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shadows of the Divine

There are shadows of Christ in all forms of art.  Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved superheroes.  Growing up my brother and I watched the old school comic book cartoons; X-Men, Superman, Batman, you name it, we were into it.  In recent years I’ve started to notice a common trend within such fandoms: the hero, already set apart from other in his city, sacrifices himself for the sake of those who lack the ability to defend themselves, those who call him a vigilante, those who might kill him for fear of what he is.  Moreover, I realized that this trend did not exist only within the limits of comic books and their subsequent TV shows or movies, but extended into other stories like that of Sherlock Holmes, Disney movies, and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  What became very apparent to me was that the authors of such stories all realized one undeniable truth: that the greatest good is to die for those who cannot save themselves. 

 Yet, a few problems remain for these heroes who cast aside their lives in order to protect the fate of others, once they are dead, they are, for the most part (depending on what sort of world your story takes place in) they are done.  There is nothing more they can do, no possible way to save others from death that will inevitably take them, no real and lasting effect they can have aside from the memory they leave behind.  So while their sacrifices are beautiful and powerful, they are not truly lasting, their story in the fight ends.  I think that’s why so often, writers find a cheat within these stories: Sherlock survived the plunge, Flynn Rider is saved by Rapunzel’s tear, Buffy is resurrected by a witch.  They realize that, aside from disappointing the fans of these characters, their hero’s story can’t end.  They want to believe in one that can truly face death and come back to carry on. 

 The problem is that they focus too much on these shadows and ignore the One Who is casting it.  They miss the point of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, viewing it with suspicion and cynicism rather than recognizing his fulfillment of their deepest desires.  I don’t say this as if I, in my brilliance, discovered it on my own, I say it as one who was blind, deaf, and dumb who has been struck so that my every sense has opened up.  Death to life.  As cheesy as it might sound I’m the chief of police wanting to arrest Spiderman whose heart has been changed to understand. 

 Our hearts long for him and we fill them with empty things to try and shut them up; empty things that are good within themselves but never meant to satisfy.  The truth calls out all around us, echoing in our dull ears that can only be opened by the work of the Holy Spirit.  May He give us eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to understand.

Psalm 19: 1-3

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.


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