11/25/01, Christ the King
Kingdom of Light
ver the years I have known a few folks who thought they were witches, wizards or demons. The most interesting story was told by a young mother who had almost been ordained a witch in the church of the devil. Friends had invited her to visit and she soon became engrossed. In the 70s young people were searching in all kinds of places for anything that promised to fill their void. Soon she began classes in witchcraft and the dark side of magic and spells. Their services were at night where they burned black candles on a black altar and wore black robes. Everything seemed to be the opposite of Christ's Kingdom of Light. Then one night she was to be ordained a witch. Her final requirement was to give her soul to the devil and to pray to him. She said that as she knelt at the black altar "something from my childhood Sunday School Classes came to me and I knew that I could not present my soul to the dark side." She bolted and ran as fast as she could with the witches chasing her through dark city streets. As she ran she tore off the black robe and cried out to Jesus to help her run faster. She did outrun the wild witches and went into hiding. Alone, in her room she knew that she had to give her life to Christ and the joy she had formerly known as a child of beauty and light. Protected by the shield of faith she came to Atlanta, found a great job and soon met the man of her dreams and was married. I met her a few hours after her first child was born. She was already sitting up in bed bubbling over with joy. She continues as a truly a remarkable child of Christ, the King of Light.
Today the Church celebrates "Christ the King Sunday," as we await the first Sunday of Advent, which is December 2. Christmas will again be all about angels singing to shepherds about the Good News. There will be stars shining and light breaking into the darkness. It will be a wondrous time of joy and gladness.
Yet, even in the Christmas story there is the recognition of the reality of evil. King Herod tries to beguiled the Wise Men into returning with a report as to the Messiah's exact place of birth. Then in desperation the wicked king slaughters all to innocent baby boys born in Palestine. Christ escaped the slaughter and later returns to fulfill His life's mission.
If you are looking for a hero why not turn to the one who won? The birth, life, death and resurrection won the victory over the power of darkness and we can choose light and life instead of darkness and death. In the world of evil there is fear of the truth of Christ. The sign of the Cross strikes terror in the vampires and warlocks of novels and dramas. Individuals who have made choices to follow evil, know that there is a Power who could redeem them, but they also have the continuing choice to daily sell their lives to evil.
In Paul's pastoral letter to the Church at Colossae (Today's Colosse in SW Turkey) he does not say that Christ might, or could, rescue them from sin and evil, he says, "He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (v. 13-14, NRSV). Even if you were to find yourself kneeling at a black altar about to pray to Satan, God's absolute power could redeem your life.
C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, the two most outstanding Professors of English Literature of the twentieth century, were discussing the void of any great works of children's literature dealing with fantasy, written from a Christian perspective, and they agreed that the two of them should undertake a project to produce some. Out of that discussion came Lewis' seven part Tales of Narnia, which he wrote in about one year, and Tolkien's long novel consisting of six books, The Lord of the Rings, which took fifteen years to compose. Both are written from the perspective of Christian values and were purposefully designed to prepare children's hearts to later accept the Truth of Christ. These wonderful books and subsequent motion pictures, were widely popular with children and adults alike and remain best sellers after over forty years. Lewis' story of children entering a magical land of Narnia through and old wardrobe in an attic introduces the Lion King, Aslan, who is martyred in the place of the children but is resurrected when his tomb is visited by the young girls. It is so directly the story of Christ that some critics refuse to call it allegorical. Indeed, children love Aslan, and later they recognize Christ at Calvary and in the Resurrection, and love Him too.
The current Harry Potter series of books, and now a movie, is somewhat different. Its redeeming feature is that it does carry a positive moral tone and good does prevail. The popular books have gotten children to read again, which is a worthwhile accomplishment in itself. On the negative side, parents will have some explaining to do as young Harry Potter is quite the little wizard. There are too many dragons, magic wands and witches riding on brooms. Reality is that England quit burning witches at the stake long years ago when they quit believing in witches. Marilyn and I saw the movie on opening night by accident. We had gone by our recently reopened community theater and discovered that "Harry Potter" was opening in five minutes; thus, we saw the 2 ½ hour epic. The motion picture was well done and with the proper adult guidance we felt that it was no more a threat to children that is most current secular fantasy. The danger would be if children, or adults, would begin to believe that the world of wizardry were real. We could see how a person on the edge of despair, loneliness or psychological breakdown could find a pretend home in the dark side that is made more easily available and attractive through the wildly popular "Harry Potter" books, movie and forthcoming marketing gimmicks.
It is critical to not expose children to the kingdom of darkness without first teaching them that the power of Light is always triumphant over Darkness. Leading them to know Christ's Kingdom of Glorious Light is the greatest protection from all forces that seek their innocent loyalty. We would not want to lose them in the darkness and have them miss the light. Our main job as Christian parents is to protect and guide as we trust in God to reach our charges. The guarantee is that if we will nurture our children in the love of Christ that when they face the dark choices that they will run toward the Light.
synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor