I go to the Rec Center three times a week and walk. iPod, headphones, good music. Sometimes I don’t want to stop walking because I’m so plugged in to the music. There’s something about sending the music straight into your brain. You hear every note, the different instruments, the counterpoint melodies. I have a favorite playlist, mostly classical, some movie themes, TV themes. Somehow Willie Nelson got in there. Don’t ask me how.
I was listening and walking the other day but I wasn’t feeling it. Then the Batman theme came on, the first Batman with Michael Keaton. One of the best opening credits sequences ever. The first Superman was great too but this was Batman. The first Batman movie was better than any to come after too.
Michael Keaton was a unlikely Batman. Short, not exactly muscular. To be kind I would call him wiry. A comedic actor. Didn’t fit the part but they pulled it off. Maybe because he didn’t fit the part the physiological scars showed through. Not very heroic hero. Obsessed you would call him.
Given the issues we face today it would be nice if we had a hero, maybe a superhero. Somebody needs to step forward. But I don’t think it will happen. There will be no political savior, no charismatic preacher, no Moses to lead us out of the wilderness. You can turn off the Bat signal. Nobody’s coming. All we’ve got is us, ordinary very human Christians.
I think about the first century church. They didn’t have any political influence. They had no military resources, no organization, no cache of weapons. They were persecuted, imprisoned and tortured, murdered. Yet these seemingly powerless people turned the world upside down.
Paul would visit a town and manage to get a few people saved then he would move on. The next time through he would find a vibrant growing church that had turned their town upside down. It happened because they didn’t look for answers in politics or power. They didn’t look for a superhero.
There were two ideas that I think the early church bought into that went a long way toward changing the world. Two scriptures that are familiar to us, maybe too familiar. Maybe we have allowed them to become empty platitudes, devoid of meaning and power.
1 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.
That’s pretty clear but do we really believe it? Do we believe that spiritual weapons will trump political weapons? Do we believe that spiritual weapons will overcome laws and regulations and the onslaught of a carnal society? I think we must. Everything depends on it.
The other verse is found in Nehemiah 8:10. The joy of the Lord is your strength.
I know that is a specific statement for a specific set of circumstances but I think it can be applied globally to our lives in any circumstance or situation. People may not heed us when we argue our case, when we defend our rights, when we stand up against them. But they are arrested by the joy we have, a joy that is not dependent on circumstances or situations. A joy that cannot be put to flight. A joy that does not come from emotion or intellect but comes from Spirit, from God.
There is one more verse I would like to share. Acts 4:13.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.