Through the window, there is a sitting room where an endless fire burns. Shadows lean upon the worn carpet for support, and the shifting wood sends a shower of dying sparks into the air. All are gathered, but no one is there. Everyone chatters, but no one speaks. This special room is where all stories converge. Where nonfiction marries fantasy before the high priest who governs them all…
Each story – whether nonfiction or fantasy- is armed with a looking glass, because no story is glorious in and of itself. They are designed to awaken in one the DESIRE to see through the window. To want to crawl in and curl up before Truth. To urge one to dare to see reality as it really is.
Of all the great heroes, none is so beloved- yet tragically stricken- as Spider-Man. WE love him because he’s cool. Webslings, sticks to walls, super strength, acrobatic, and that famous Spidey sense… What’s not to love?? Yet, in his world, the word that best describes him is “unappreciated.”
An orphan raised by his aunt and uncle. That uncle died when he was in his late teens. A brilliant mind, but bullied all through school. Watched his childhood crush date his chief bully. Gains super powers. Begins to save his city. Attacked by the media as a menace. Saves his city and its individual residents countless times, but when he is in a bind to save his first girlfriend, he botches it and snaps her neck by mistake. Keeps saving the city. Keeps being attacked by the media. Libeled, misrepresented, and blamed for everything wrong in the city.
[Most of] The people who know he is Spider-man, don’t know he is Peter Parker. [Most of] The people who know he is Peter Parker, don’t know he is Spider-Man.
Everyone has a demand.
Few have an appreciation.
And yet he keeps on selflessly giving of himself in both capacities, because he knows it’s what the world needs.
… Is the same not also true of Jesus?
Those of us who know His backstory simply as God (Old Testament) tend not to make the connection to Him as Jesus. Those of us who embrace Him as Jesus tend to reject His backstory in favor of a more manageable trope, not too far off from genie in a bottle (Bible). Media blames Him for everything and thanks Him for nothing. He gave His all on the Cross. Literally. Laid His life down, so we could take His life up, then came back to life so that we could all have one life in/of Him together with Him.
And yet… Jesus is truly the hero’s hero. We can close a comic book or turn off the movie and be disconnected from the power of Spider-Man’s story. We can obsess over our struggles, and the power of real life heroes will never touch us.
But Jesus HAS no limits. Because TRUTH has no limits. He makes His way through every genre of music. Any book you like to read, He is present and using it to get you to see through the looking glass. Kanye was ahead of his time when he said that Jesus even walks with the strippers. He does. Every moment using something in their twisted environment to make them aware of Him.
You like nature? He really enjoys connecting to people through that. Spiritual churches and trifling churches- He’s simultaneously working overtime to establish personal connection with EVERYbody.
He doesn’t demand that we stop blaming Him, or stop other people from blaming Him, or that we lace up and be heroic like He is, or even that we give Him a break because He’s been through more than we could ever imagine already. He does none of that, nor does He desire to. He merely wants us to dare to look through that window and allow ourselves to be captivated by Truth… To be enamoured with reality as it really is… Because the truth about reality is that Jesus is the truth about everything.
The truth about reality is that Jesus is the truth about everything.
Transformation doesn’t come from trying to be like Jesus. That just breeds frustration. No, transformation comes from letting Jesus be HIMSELF, both in and around us… And being willing to make whatever personal sacrifices are required, understanding that when Jesus requires sacrifice, it is to give us the freedom and power we think we’ll gain by holding onto whatever it is He’s requiring.
In other words… It gives Him more freedom in us, which ultimately makes us more free.
So you see… The good news about Spider-Man is founded upon the good news about Christ… Underappreciated, yet vitally needed.
Demanding nothing, but always requesting that we receive His invitation to be embraced.
He is with you, even now.
Urging you… To take a look… Through the looking glass.