Monday, September 17, 2012

How People are Rescued in Literature

One of the elders at our church made an interesting comment in his closing remarks at church yesterday.

He explained that there is an interesting contrast between the heroes of today's literature and movies.  The idea is that everyone has the strength within themselves to save themselves.  Heroes like the ones Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis play in the movies.  In these stories, people only need themselves--they have all they need (like the main character in Eight Keys which I review here) I remember being struck by this several times as I sat and watched recent contemporary films.  Independence and self sufficiency are values our society places a huge value upon.

Many stories from days gone past present a different savior.  That savior comes from outside of themselves. Think of The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia or The Door in the Wall.  Reinforcements come to help save the day when the main characters are in trouble.  They can't survive on their own.

Our pastor's sermon was on Psalm 46.  It is the Psalm that inspired Martin Luther's hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is our God"

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Public Domain.  Words and music:  Martin Luther.

1. A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing;
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

2. Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabbaoth, His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

3. And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

4. That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill:  God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.

Then, I read these verses in my Bible study this morning:

Psalm 143:7-10

English Standard Version (ESV)
Answer me quickly, O Lord!
    My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
    lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
    I have fled to you for refuge.[a]
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
    on level ground!

It is interesting for me to think about these texts and the literature my children are reading.  Are the books they read telling them that they are enough on their own--that they don't need anyone else, even God? Or are the stories they are reading telling them that the road is easier when not walked alone?

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