Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Death to Life

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Found at the IMDB page.
Last week Agents of SHIELD shocked the world when they killed Agent May. "What!" Yep, they killed her. Then, they brought her back. She had been affected by the ghosts who have been walking around. A piece of her brain was processing non-stop and it's failure to stop would kill her. The only thing that Simmons and Radcliffe could come up with was to kill her...and revive her again.

This idea is not entirely new. I have seen other movies and shows do something like this before. They make it very dramatic and we when the person is revived, the organism or virus or tech has simply ended or left the body.

Death and resurrection are not a new thought to Christianity either. Jesus himself was killed and resurrected. Before that he brought back Lazurus from the dead. Yet He also expects us to deal with death. In Matthew 16:24 Jesus tells us that if we want to follow Him we must take up our own crosses in the process.

Romans 6:11 tells us: "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." But read on. Verse twelve says, "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires."

Agent May was under the influence of whatever this ghost touch does. She could not control it. She was deceived by it into thinking that everyone was against her. She was under it's control. That is what sin does to us. It deceives us and confuses us. 

Killing May seemed so extreme to Simmons. When asked if she was okay, she said: "Of course not!! We're about to kill May!" She could not imagine doing that to a friend. Often we feel like that. If I cut this out, will I be the same person? This is so extreme, do I really need to stop this? Can't I keep this sin for a bit? In the end, Simmons got her friend back as herself because of that crazy idea. Jesus assured us that he came that we might have life more abundantly (John 10:10). We do not have to earn our salvation from sin, but we will have to give up the sin itself in order to have life to the full. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Happiness or Fulfillment?

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Well, I have been enjoying checking out the season premieres the last couple weeks. Agents of SHIELD, The Flash, Once Upon a Time, Arrow, etc. I even checked out new shows Timeless and Designated Survivor and the reboot of Macguyver. Spoiler alert for The Flash and OUaT.

I am noticing a common thread coming out of some of these shows. The Quest for happiness. OUaT fully admits that happiness is the driving force of the characters. The villains and heroes want happy endings. They go to great lengths for this. We recently saw great lengths taken by the Flash for happiness. There was a deep episode last season dealing with how pain and difficulty are part of Barry's story. At first it seemed he understood this and had come to terms with it; but such was not the case. This weeks premiere was all about Flashpoint and it shows the consequences of seeking happiness instead of enduring life's difficulties.

The thing about happiness is that it is based on your situation. If "A" happens, then I am fine. If "B" happens I'm angry, etc. We have many warnings about this in scripture. In John 16:33 Jesus warned us about difficulty in life. "...In this life you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." We are told to expect problems. They are a normal part of life. Our response to those problems is what we are told is important. Jesus offers hope in grief and Proverbs warns us about sinning in our anger.

Barry went so far as to change time for his happy ending...all he found was that others were unhappy and he was losing his memories of his life as a hero. He had changed his environment so much by one single act, that others had deeply changed. Ramon didn't care about others. There was a new Flash who was losing a battle with The Rival, Joe hated his job and was undependable. Others were suffering. Even when it was fixed, he found out there were still consequences.

In OUaT we find the Count of Monte Cristo trying so hard for his revenge that he almost kills kind people. Regina finds out that having the Evil Queen pulled out of her did not work and she and the heroes must now face her without Regina controlling the evil inclinations.

Trying to control our environment does not work. Happiness based on that is fleeting at best and degrading either to yourself and/or others in the long run. Jesus came that our life would be abundant. Not easy or perfect, but meaningful. He invites us to join with Him for peace and hope and to find meaning by sharing that peace and hope with others. This brings fulfillment and even joy, which is an attitude of hope in all circumstances whether good or bad.