Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Gospel According to Supernatural

Supernatural ,one of my favorite shows, is about a couple of brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) who hunt monsters and demons. With it being renewed for an eleventh season this year, obviously it has attracted a bit of a cult following, so many people like it. The question is why? Why do people enjoy watching shows with the bloodshed and fighting against monsters? Well, I guess not so much because of the monsters, but because it shows us monsters can be beaten.

In the show, some monsters, some demons, are only around for an episode or two; others are main villains for several episodes, or even whole seasons. Some demons come back after they were defeated a few seasons earlier. Each person has monsters and demons attacking them daily. Some monsters and some demons come and go every so often, others seem to just hang around all the time.

Sin

We all deal with the demon of sin. Some have larger demons, others have more demons. Any thing we do that distances us from God is sin. He knows that it is still hard for us. His arms are always stretched out to welcome home the prodigal. They are stretched out to comfort those who slip up. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed from sin, it is also that we can have enabling power to avoid sin.

In Supernatural, demons are not able to pass salt lines on the floor. Salt is a symbol of covenants (Leviticus 2:13). As we honor covenants, and don't break any of the lines they draw about us, the demon of sin can have no power to assail us. Holding on to our covenants, and staying within the bounds the Lord has set provides us with protection.

Addiction

During Season 4, Sam Winchester had been drinking demon blood. He couldn't stop. He felt it provided him with power. And to a degree it did, but as always with addiction, it came at the cost of his freedom. He couldn't do anything without getting his fix of demon blood! It was just something he had to have!

Many good people suffer from addictions. The absolute monster that comes, begins to control every aspect of life. Even when one feels that it gives them power to cope, it really doesn't, and the only way to break free from addiction is by turning to the enabling power of the atonement, and the redeeming power. The enabling power to let you live your life; the redeeming power to break the bands of addiction.

Loneliness

Multiple times through the show Sam and Dean get separated. Sometimes through death, sometimes through decisions they've made, they get separated from the only family they have left. They often are put at odds against one another. Yet, eventually the two of them reunite in the bonds of family and of brotherhood.

The Atonement allows that reuniting, and that forgiveness to be possible. Whether we feel estranged from our family or not, we are often set in places we are at odds with our elder brother, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father. The Atonement sets us back with God and our Savior. We all have times of loneliness, when it seems nobody is near, but because Jesus was alone in Gethsemane and on Golgotha, we don't have to be alone. He will come to us.

Regardless what demons you face, what monsters come after you, hold firm to your covenants. Look to your God, and He will deliver you from any trial that comes your way.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Battles

Let's face it: life is hard. We each have very unique trials that nobody else but God knows. To us, our trials loom like a Goliath. We get weighed down by everything happening around us, and sometimes even wonder if God might be near. We wonder why nobody seems to reach out to us.

If we step back for a minute, we realize that the previous paragraph resonates with us. And that's just it: us. We all go through painful tribulations, attempting to hearken to our God, but feeling constantly beat down by the storms of life. We rarely pause for a moment to think that just about how everyone else around us is going through the same thing.

Especially in America, personal feelings are meant for our closest friends and family, so we rarely open up. While, in some cases, that should change, the likelihood of that changing in the near future is close to nothing. As disciples of Christ, therefore what? How do we live up to our baptismal covenant to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort?

Obviously, we become friends with people, and when we get close enough, we start opening up, but that is not enough. There is no possible way on this planet we will become extremely close friends with every person we contact. What can we do?

Treat everyone as if they are fighting a battle.

For example, if we are in middle school, and a kid snaps at us for moving his instrument because it was in the way of our locker, we can either retaliate, fume over it, or let it go. Well, if all we saw was a kid getting a little agitated over something so minor, we may retaliate and lay into him; however, if we knew someone had stolen his instrument before, or he was in a rush to get home so he could see his mother in the hospital, we'd be more apt to respond with kindness.

That is one small example from one time in my life, I'm sure you can make many other great examples from your life. As difficult as it is to train yourself to think like this, it's even more difficult to do so when we ourselves have a battle raging. That is the ultimate expression of divinity though: treating others as if they are fighting a battle, when we ourselves are in a battle.

The Savior in Gethsemane and on the road to Calvary was fighting the hardest battle ever fought in the history of mankind. Every last weapon in Satan's arsenal was leveled against Him to stop the Atonement, yet in the midst of that battle, He healed the ear of the High Priest's servant; He made sure His mother had care; He forgave the Romans who crucified Him.

Many of us have had the pain of getting a cut, and that hurts enough: imagine having an organ cut off. It would hurt like no other pain we'd ever felt. I'm sure that servant was mostly there because his master sent him. The thoughts racing through his mind may have been along the lines of "I should have called in sick" or anything like that. Yet, as great as that agony was, Christ was suffering greater pain. He just had blood ooze out of his pores, that would require exorbitant amounts of hemorrhaging. Yet His thoughts were with the servant.

Regardless of how big or small your battle may seem: serve others in the midst of it. Chances are, they are in the midst of one too.