The Powerful Play Goes On



You’re not just anyone. One day you’re going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, is going to change the world.
— -Jonathan Kent, from Man of Steel movie trailer, 2012

 

Yes.

Change the world.

You.

You, reading this line at this very moment.  You, despite all appearances to the contrary - you. You, sitting down at the computer after a frustrating day of long hours spent doing absolutely nothing of great significance - earning money, chasing personal successes, satisfying small wants and needs that begin and end with yourself, that never radiate beyond the four walls of your own home, and that will be forgotten even by yourself come tomorrow's dawning light...

Yes, you. 

You've got choices. 

Choices about what kind of man (or woman) you want to be.

And those choices can change the world.

Don't we all long for that to be true of us? To matter?  To be significant? To be powerful enough to make a some sort of difference in the world? Who among us sits down to watch one of these increasingly popular films about superheroes like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, and walks away afterwards thinking, "I am SO glad I can live a small, insignificant life that doesn't radiate with strength, purpose, and heroic impact on the world?" Ridiculous. No, we leave the theatre awash in a mixture of bittersweet longings, with the scab ripped away from one of our most ancient wounds: the loss of any sense that our lives really matter.

We know, we know: what about humility? What about giving God ALL the glory? What about being nothing more than a sinful wretch in the sight of the All-Powerful?  What about Jesus saying to his closest friends and greatest disciples, "Apart from me you can do nothing?" How often have you heard a preacher remind you to be encouraged, because God likes to use failures, losers, and nobodies...just like you?

Well, our guess is that you've had more than your fair dose of that side of things. And don't get us wrong - there is certainly truth to all that need for comparative humility in the presence of God. A whole lot of truth.  If we wanted to we could, in all honesty, sit around day after day trembling at the thought of our complete frailty, our precarious position clinging to a biological life threatened in a thousand ways by a thousand possible deaths, aware that the hope of new life on Eternal Shores is even more beyond our control than the preserving of this fragile biological life that can be extinguished like a candle's flame in a mere moment.

Yes, before the sheer power and magnitude of God, we are certainly as dust. Here today, gone tomorrow. Desperately dependent at every turn. Small, weak, insignificant creatures compared to the might and power of our Creator.

But we just aren't sure how helpful its going to be to focus on all that at this point in the story...

Because there is another side to all this, and contrary to what you've probably been told, it is not a battle between "humanism" and "true Christianity", where the one side believes Man is powerful, capable, and creative, and the other argues that Man is dust, and evil, and a worm.  The truth is - hold your breath now and get ready - the truth is that all of it is True...depending what you happen to be focusing on at the moment.  Ever since right near the very beginning of humanity's story, we have been a race that has Fallen. What does that mean? Well, the obvious thing that you hear talked about in Christian circles the most is that this means we now have a nature that is a slave to evil and imperfection.  That is where the Race has fallen to.  But equally important is where the Race has fallen from, and what exactly the Christian "gospel" promises in regard to God's ability through Christ to restore us to the place from which we have fallen.

It's all a matter of what piece of the overall picture you want to be focusing on. And right now, in most of our lives, the thing we need more than anything else is a renewed sense of significance, because that's what most of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, are mostly living without.  We may be dust, but it is a priceless dust, and God has dared to call that dust His sons and daughters. We may be frail, short-lived creatures, but those creatures do matter. To God and to the universal movement of restoring all things to the way they were meant to be. To the mission that has been appointed to us. To the people that need us - our love, our good news, our courage, our strength, our intervention, labor, and sacrifice on their behalf.

Yes, Jesus told his closest allies and friends that apart from Him they could do "nothing".  But that was merely a warning, not the focus or heartbeat of His message to them.

The central thing you find as you read the gospel accounts is what Jesus says about what these young men should expect to be able to do with Him.

They can heal the sick. They can raise the dead. They can wield supernatural power to defeat forces of evil from another world. They can calm storms, walk on water, throw mountains into the sea. They can bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free.

They can, in fact, change the world.

And so they did.

Will you?

The question - O me! - so sad recurring - What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer: That you are here. That life exists, and identity.
That the powerful play goes on,
and you may contribute a verse.
— Walt Whitman