Let’s be honest, God can reveal truth through anything; burnt toast, puffy clouds, and even Hollywood productions. Now before I get started, I just want it to be known, I’m a Word-guy. Although God can speak through anything and everything, I believe that His main ways of communicating to us is through His Word and also through the person of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it seems that religious people can be easily offended by the thought of God speaking through other avenues, especially one as seemingly unspiritual as television or movies. What I would like to point out from the beginning here that it isn’t that God is “speaking through” movies or discolored patterns on pieces of toast, but rather that the Holy Spirit is constantly speaking to our hearts, revealing Christ to us, and that because of this, whatever is in front of us, can become the object lesson of his choosing. For me, though I typically prefer to learn about God through His Word, talking or listening to other believers, or even a walk in the woods, recently I was deeply impressed by 2 different media productions that I saw; Lost and Avatar. Here are a few revelations that I got from each of them.
LOST: Though I came into it a few seasons late, I really fell in love with the series. My staff and some others at our church were all pretty into it, and we spent a lot of off time (and probably some “on” time) discussing theories and plotlines. I’m proud to say that I figured a few things out, but going into the last episode, I still had a few pretty big questions. Prior to watching the final episode, I had said on several occasions that no matter what, as long as the main characters live, I’m going to be happy with the ending. So you can imagine the utter disappoint, when in fact, not only did some of the main characters die, but in fact, everyone died and they flashed forward to some sort of politically correct unitarian afterlife. From a literary standpoint I felt it was a major copout, and I was pretty frustrated that I had even wasted my time with the show. What about the island? What about Jack? What about the polar bears? I mean, I needed to know these things. Or did I? Now weeks later, God has really been teaching me something about this life….most of what we hold so crucially important isn’t. Like Jack, I can easily be so focused on “the island” that I miss the fact that this life isn’t about the island at all, but rather it’s about the next, and for me, I believe that to be knowing Christ. In thinking back, how stupid and arbitary was Jack’s mission, to plug an oozing energy drain in the center of some random island, but how fitting. Most of my best efforts aren’t much better, but they mean so much to me. And like Jack, it seems that I am sometimes still frantically trying to hang onto my life, not realizing that in order to find my life, I must lose it. As Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live….” For me, the themes of Lost, whether intended or not, have been reminding me that my island isn’t near as important as I would like to believe, and in the end, for those in Christ, as Desmond said, “Everything is going to be okay.”
Avatar: Was it the greatest movie ever? Probably not, but I enjoyed it. Visually impressive? Most certainly. And again, I have no idea what the intent was of the actors and producers, but the places that it took me, or rather that God took me while I was watching it was incredible. The basic storyline is that a disabled marine who is unable to walk, takes over for his deceased twin brothers research project for the military on another planet. The project was that they had cloned or created an “Avatar” which was a host body replicated by human and alien DNA, through which the military was able to project their consciousness into the large blue creatures. These bodies were identical to the nature of those on the alien planet and were able to almost effortlessly master their surroundings by running, jumping, and climbing. As you can imagine, if you haven’t seen it, for this disabled marine to “leave” his human body and to enter into the body of his Avatar produced instant freedom and joy for the man. He was crippled, and now, in his new body, had virtually no physical limitations, in fact, he was able to move in ways that he could never imagine. For me, it was just a perfect picture of the new creation and even more so, death in Christ. You and I, we are ALL crippled. We might not realize it, but we are so limited and disabled in our flesh and bodies, to the point that we can’t hardly move at all in the way God intended for us. We are so crippled in our flesh, that we can’t even imagine what it would be like to be free, to be masters of the world around us. Now I’m not starting the first church of Avatar, but this simple picture of a crippled man entering into this new body and discovering freedom and life like never before….how perfect! As a kid, and even sometimes as an adult, if I’m honest, I’ve been afraid of death. And not just death, but I’ve been afraid of heaven. I mean, what are we going to do for ALL eternity! Though God has been bringing revelation of his goodness to me for sometime of these concepts, this picture in Avatar really was influentual to me. It made me excited. Once this guy got into his Avatar, he never wanted to come back. How much more so when we receive our new bodies in Christ, will we be so filled with freedom and joy, finally released of the limitations of this physical realm, to be able to experience life, and the life God intended for us. As believers, we can get excited about being with Christ. I’m confident that HIS imagination and plans for us, are far superior to the imagination of James Cameron (Avatar ‘s director) or even ourselves. We can’t out think God’s goodness and plans for us. He didn’t say that He was going to prepare a place for himself, but rather for us. God’s intent is to build a home for us, and I’m confident that our creator will no just how we like it and what we are desire. Rest easy, death is but a moment, after which we awake to true life!