Monday, January 9, 2012

The Good in Us

Since I was a child, I have loved reading The Chronicles of Narnia books. I have enjoyed them as an adult every bit as much as when I first read them, and I have loved sharing them with my children. I still cry almost every time I read about Lucy and Susan watching as the White Witch humiliates and slays Aslan (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) on the stone table, and rejoice with them when they realize that Aslan has overcome death.

It will be no big surprise, then, that I am no particular fan of the movie versions. However, there is something about the battle scenes that always gets me…with a lump in my throat and often, tears too. I am sure you know the emotion. It is not joy. It is not sadness. It is something that comes from that which is best in you being challenged to show itself. A knowing that there is goodness and strength and courage in this world. And a knowing that there is a Source for it.

My favorite scene in Peter Jackson's film version of The Fellowship of the Ring is Gandalf banging his staff and thunderously proclaiming "You shall not pass" when he is up against the (bog?) creature in the caves. He is not thinking of himself at all…in fact, he is nowhere to be found on his own radar. He is simply responding to the situation from the depths of his character.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Stephen ( Acts 6-7). He was stoned to death, but his story is not at all sad to me, primarily because it includes his response, and it seems he was not thinking of himself. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God…. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."

I realize that every day I have opportunities—both large and small-- to stand up for what is good. I know that some opportunities go unnoticed by me. I also know there have been times when I have consciously chosen not to stand. Not good. Sometimes we get "redos," and sometimes we don't. But, thankfully, every day provides a day full of new opportunities to get it right.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

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