Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The Monsters are Coming (Conclusion)
This is a short excursis (which is a discussion of a particular point in a book, usually in an appendix - or can sometimes be defined as a digression) in which I wish to offer further thoughts on one or more of the ideas I offered on Sunday.
I utilized the idea of monsters because they provide a representation of so many other things. The Mummy, vampires, zombies, and Jekyll and Hyde - they are scary in and of themselves, but they also point to larger realities.
A few years ago, I was in a conversation with a friend and mentioned a particular video game that I enjoyed. In explaining what I enjoyed about it, I said that I liked the clarity of tasks it offered. I knew my choices and I saw their ramifications. I also enjoyed fighting monsters.
They asked, "Why don't you do that in real life?" I answered, "Because zombies don't exist."
"Not like that, but there are real monsters to face."
I have pondered that for a long time. I think they were correct, too. There are plenty of monsters out there - many of our own creation. And we need to be able to face them, because if we don't, they will get the best of us.
When I was very young, my parents read a story to me called (to the best of my recollection) "The Whatsits." If that wasn't the name of the story, it was the name of the characters. It was a story of a young child who was afraid to go into a dark basement because of the monsters he believed were down there - the Whatsits.
The artist depicted them as giant creatures. But as the story progressed and the child learned to face his fears, the Whatsits got smaller and smaller until he was no longer even able to see them. My father used to let me know when my fears were getting the best of me by saying "You're letting the Whatsits get bigger." Perhaps as those who seek to do the will of God, we might also find ourselves letting our fears get too big to face.
One of the great songs of the church is "How Firm a Foundation." I would use the second and fourth verse to close this series out:
"Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give the aid; I'll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand."
"When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine."
Grace and Peace,