Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I was reading this article from CNN and loved it. They finally get it about why kids and especially teenagers love superheroes. The author almost seems surprised that this year's superhero hits have major flaws. It's not the typical Superman weakness but the everyday weaknesses of the superheroes that draw us to them. Stan Lee mentions that it makes the hero rounded out.
I would say that it's not that the hero is rounded out but the fact that it makes the hero real. I love Superman, and can relate to that character on a very small level but he's Superman! I like it that Superman can be very much a Christ-like hero. But it's the other heroes who really draw me in, with their flaws. Spider-Man, who always has relationship issues and financial issues. I love it when in the comics he just gets done fighting a villain and then worries that he still has a rent payment to make (by the way this is what makes Spider-Man 2 the best out of the trilogy). Batman, with his identity crisis ("Who are you?" "I'm Batman!"). Iron Man, with alcoholism, and struggling with vocation. Wolverine, with his 'old life' vs 'new life' issues. These characters we all love (at least me and a lot of nerds!).
Yet I would argue that many of our Biblical Heroes are very similar to them. Samson, Ehud, Barak (Yes, I'm studying Judges right now), Moses, Aaron, Thomas, Peter, and Paul. They each have their flaws, yet God uses them. They are the prototypes (loosely used) of the Superheroes of today. Maybe we should get out that Bible and begin seeing these characters in a new light!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
“He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary”
For many people this part of the creed is hard to swallow. Let alone wrap our minds around it. Yet it goes to the core of our Christian faith. This is the Christmas part of the creed. It also describes how we can truly say that Jesus Christ is 100% True God and 100% True Man.
Sadly many non-Christians who grew up in the church scoff at this idea. Often they claim that Joseph was keep busy while the Father had ‘relations’ with Mary. But the very identity of Mary as a virgin stresses that this is simply not true and an aberrant thought. Also, as the creed states it is not by the power of the Father that Jesus is conceived but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus we see the miraculous conception.
Indeed, Jesus takes on the flesh of humanity. God comes to us as a man. He is born without sin because it is by the power of the Holy Spirit and the fact that he is true God. At the same time, Jesus is one of us; human. It still gives awe and wonder thinking about God becoming man. That awe and wonder is still carried out during that Christmas time with songs and worship. We still marvel at the God-man; Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The Apostles Creed then moves into the Second Article. The Second Article deals with Jesus Christ. Indeed the opening phrase, “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord”, gives us everything we need to know. But the rest of the following phrases explain what is meant by Jesus Christ being Lord.
Before we go into that, we must first discuss Jesus Christ being the Father’s only Son. Mentioned in the earlier newsletter article, the Creed discusses and hammers out the Triune God. First we see the role that the Father plays and now we see Jesus Christ. Each is completely God. They are each, though, a person or personhood. So, the Father is 100% God and the Son is 100% God. Yet the Father is not the Son. I know it gets confusing. But that is why we have the Nicene Creed and, more so, the Athanasian Creed which clearly describes the Trinity. But stating that you believe that Jesus Christ is the Father’s only Son is very important. This distinguishes us from many of the other religions that parade themselves as Christian (Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses). We are stating that Jesus is the Son of the Father, the ONLY Son. We become sons and daughters of God ONLY through adoption (baptism). This brings up all the issues of authority and power. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus has authority and power and gives reference that only a son can be given the authority and power via a father. Christ has the authority and power of God not because he was special or discovered something new but simply because He is God.
And because Christ is God, we call Him Lord. Luther writes, “What is it to ‘become a Lord’? It means that Christ has redeemed me from sin, from the devil, from death, and from all evil. Before this I had no Lord and King but was captive under the power of the devil.” Calling Jesus Christ “Lord” is not like saying He’s the president or C.E.O of our lives. He is the Ruler of our lives because He has redeemed us, bought us back to God. He has purchased us as His own, with His own precious blood. We now call Him Lord because Jesus is our Lord and Savior. “He has taken us as his own, under his protection, in order that he may rule us by his righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness.” – Martin Luther