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Friday, May 26, 2017

Arrow, The Flash, and Helping Enemies

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

This week I enjoyed the season finales of both The Flash and Arrow. One of the interesting subjects raised in both of these episodes was that of turning a foe into a friend.

http://www.playbuzz.com/brookem24/team-flash-or-team-arrow
Spoilers ahead.

In The Flash, Barry Allen tried to help Savitar. We learned before this that Savitar is actually a future version of Barry, or more accurately a time remnant Barry created to help fight Savitar; who eventually became Savitar. Yeah. Anyway, while Captain Cold had helped him steal a power source for the Speed Cannon, he was told something important: your goodness is the best par to who you are. In other words, you can't always fight fire with fire. Barry decided not to try and destroy Savitar, but instead to offer to help him somehow. Spoiler: Savitar failed to kill Iris. Since this is a big part of what made him Savitar, that meant time would catch up with him and erase him. The Flash offered to help find a way for Savitar to continue living. In this case, it did not work. Savitar just tried to kill them all.

In Arrow, we find Oliver has been brought back to Lian Yu, the island he had been stranded on. He found Digger Harkness and Slade Wilson/Deathstroke. He asked them to help him. Digger Harkness pretended to join him and then revealed he had received a "better offer". Ok, this sounds bad. Why keep trying to turn enemies into friends? I mean, this seems like it isn't turning out well.

The principal is not an issue of how effective this was. It is an issue of right vs. wrong. For Barry, this was an issue of choosing his best self. Admittedly, Oliver was at the end of his ropes. But I think there was also a sense in Oliver of wanting to give Slade and Harkness one last chance to change.

Think about the man named Barnabas in the New Testament. He rooted and argued for Paul to be giving a second chance by the Church after he had persecuted many Christians. Even after that he still believed in second chances. When Paul did not want to trust one young man, Barnabas did. He loved giving second chances to people. Even if it didn't work. In Paul's case, where would we be without his letters or his work as a missionary?

Jesus himself told us to pray for those who persecute us and love our enemies. This is not just commanded by Him. By appearing to Paul on the road to Damascus, Jesus was exhibiting this for us. He also exhibited this for us by responding gracefully to a thief while they were both being crucified.

We did see some good results in these episodes as well. After Savitar started his plan with the speed cannon, they had a fight and Killer Frost, aka Caitlin Snow, started helping the heroes. She left his side to join back with her friends. Slade also accepted the offer. He worked with Oliver to rescue the his son and friends from Adrian Chase. The man who had killed Oliver's Mom and had done massive damage to the city with the Mira Kuru drug (sp?) chose to help his enemy.  Now, I don't know what the story tellers have planned for him in the future but this is significant.

How can you give someone a second chance? 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Music vs. Curses

Greetings Scholars and Warriors!

Found at: http://www.eonline.com/news/847431/hook-s-song-from-the-once-upon-a-time-musical-episode-is-here-it-s-a-swashbuckling-delight
This season we have seen many shows adding music for special episodes. This happened for the Supergirl/Flash crossover in March and recently we saw this on Once Upon a Time. OUaT gave us the more interesting one, though. During the flashbacks for this episode, we saw Snow White, Charming, the Evil Queen, Hook, and a few others singing their hearts out.

Spoilers ahead.

They woke up finding themselves singing due to a spell after Snow White had wished for protection for her unborn baby. As they sang, they noticed that the music was affecting their world in unexpected ways. Specifically, it was affecting the Evil Queens hold on them and her power. As they sang, her attacks were far less effective.

Music is something the Bible encourages us toward. The first song in the Bible was a Psalm written by Moses wife after the parting of the Red Sea. It was a celebratory song. Decades later, David used music to calm down King Saul when he was tormented by a spirit. The story is found in 1 Samuel 16:14-23. In verse 14 the spirit is described with a word that has been translated as both "harmful" and "evil".
"Whenever the spirit from God would come on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him." 1 Sam. 16:23 
David went on to write many Psalms, or spiritual songs, we would use in worship. The New Testament would also use songs. Paul is believed to have quoted a song in Philippians 2:6-11. He often encouraged us to use spiritual songs as encouragement to each other.

The above story is significant and a little strange. Yet it shows God is masterful in both creation and grace. Saul had been leading Israel away from God and flat out disobeying Him. Early on in that story we find out that God's spirit had left him because of this. He sent the spirit to torment Saul as a form of judgement, yet had the grace to allow music to provide relief. What this does show us is that music is powerful in the spiritual realm.

We don't talk much about spiritual warfare but it is a real thing. I have heard stories from people on missions who have been in situations where music was used to help heal with a person who was demonically possessed. I have heard other stories as well about music bringing relief or even cults using music against Christians.

The role of music as worship is to be a tool or a voice for us to express ourselves to God. It is useful for helping knowledge go from our heads to our hearts and bringing relief to us. I have been in multiple situations where I went to church frustrated with life and having a hard time singing, but yet the music would help me refocus and it would bring relief in the middle of my frustration.

Next time you feel depressed, spiritually oppressed, or frustrated; maybe you should put on some music. There are plenty of worship CDs out there and you can find many worship songs on various music sites as well as You Tube. Sing along and let God use the music to give you peace.