Monday, March 26, 2012
“Then one of the elders spoke up and said, ‘Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you are the one who knows.’ He said to me, ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7: 13-17
Have you jumped on the bandwagon? Do you have “Hunger Games” fever? Team Peeta anyone? With the first movie of the wildly popular book trilogy now out, the hype about this story has reached new highs. Why?
The story contains age-old themes that speak to our hearts: good versus evil, suffering, injustice, brutality, hope versus hopelessness, rebellion, violence and a desire for greatness among others. Ultimately the books and movie speak of a society in Northern America void of any religion or belief in God and the natural, logical conclusions that will be reached by such a society: where the few dominate the many with fear and power and control. This is not a new concept and there have been many works of literature and movies that focus on this type of post-apocalyptic world. But the reality is that our world has actually seen something similar to this in real life, for the society described in these books is not all that different from ancient Rome, where gladiators battled beasts and one another to the death in the Coliseum before thousands of eager spectators.
The analogy for our lives is that this present world is really the “arena” and all of us are in the “game”. And it is a game of life or death. But we do not compete against one another; we compete against Satan and sin. And what we strive for is eternal life.
The Good News is that we have hope because God sent His Son, Jesus, to die in our place. Jesus offered Himself for us and through His blood we are made clean, we are made victorious, we are saved! We will survive the time of great distress because the Lamb who was slain will become our Shepherd. The Victim will become the Victor! And this action of God compels us, as His followers, to live and act as He did: to lay down our lives for others, not to take their lives. This is the central theme of Christianity and it is the only motivation to compel us to rise above our base instincts and desires for power, control and domination. And it is only this motivation and the grace of Christ that compels us to build a civilization of love and a culture of life, rather than the nihilistic, post-apocalyptic world of death, greed, power and violence offered in The Hunger Games.
Finally, when we have passed through this “arena” of life successfully, the hunger and thirst for Truth, beauty, goodness, joy, peace and love that consumes our hearts will be fulfilled beyond anything we could ever imagine in the eternity of God’s kingdom where there will be no more tears or worries and we will be completely satisfied forever. Let the games begin…
Dear Jesus, may I so hunger and thirst for You that I spend all of my life loving and serving others as You do. Amen.