Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mini Flash Wins Every Time

A red blur interrupted my peripheral peace.  I kept my face in my book.  (Alright, not my book.  I kept my face glued to the screen of my iPhone as I played Tiny Wings.  But let’s pretend it was actually a book; a book with words like tolutiloquent).  The red blur interrupted my periphery again with the silence of a hobbit and the speed of a mongoose.  Then it was on me.  A mask wearing, nylon clad pygmy superhero was pummeling the back of my hands that were covering my face.  I was a super-villain and I didn’t even know it.  (That’s the worst, right?  At least the Joker and Lex Luthor knew that it was coming.)  Here this whole time I thought I was a good husband, loving dad, and grateful pastor and it turns out I was actually the arch enemy of Mini Flash.  How did this happen?  Was this the end?

Then in a moment of clarity I grabbed the closest thing I could find and swung as hard as I could.  That pillow must have had some magical powers because Mini Flash flew off the side of my bed and like a hobbited cat with no legs, landed softly on his face.  Then, in a rare moment of cowardice and unchecked emotion for a super hero, Mini Flash ran away in the blur that brought him crying for his mother.  Turns out I’m an awesome super-villain. 

What is that thing in a kid that gets transformed by the costume?  When an adult puts on a costume one of a few things is going on.

1.        They are going to a party with a lot of booze- I mean a lot of booze.
2.       It’s Halloween and they are in that odd 7% of adults who really get into Halloween- booze or not. 
3.       A Trekkie convention, Comic Con, or some other themed gathering of gifted kids and home schoolers.      
4.       And then there’s, you know, couples costumes.

But at no point do these adults actually think they possess super powers or Klingon DNA.  It’s a costume.  However, in a child an existential shift occurs when the spandex, mask, and cape go on.  This existential transformation even has metaphysical implications.  All things being equal but the costume, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that my Mini Flash son beats his non super self in a foot race.  I can see it now…  It’s a Usainian moment as Mini Flash’s arms spread out looking left and right cruising the final 20 meters in a victory over himself sans the flash mask.  (All kidding aside, I’m going to test this when I get home.  No, not by cloning my son.  By using a stopwatch, you goof ball.  I’ll post results).

I think that’s kind of what Jesus was getting at when he said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these… anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Children believe.  And their belief has wings on it.  And belief with wings on it is what the Bible calls faith. 

One of the great pictures of the gospel comes from Jesus’ story of the prodigal.  You know this story.  Kid number two asks for a share of the inheritance.  He goes splitsville to an ancient Mediterranean version of Vegas.  What happens there stays there including the money.  He’s destitute and ashamed.  He heads home simply wanting to be a slave in his dad’s house while working on a great contrition speech.  His dad sees him, runs and hugs him, and doesn’t even let him finish the speech.  Without hesitation the dad tells a servant to bring a new robe, sandals, and the family signet ring.  And they set toward the house for a party in the kid’s honor.  Wait, what? 

But that’s the gospel in a nut shell.  We’re selfish and messed up.  God loves us anyway.  And he puts Jesus’ own robe, sandals, and signet ring on us and says I’m throwing a party for you.  We have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ.  We have been credited with his obedience by the grace of the Father. 

Most Christians simply don’t believe that.  I look at my son and I see a funny little kid in a spandex outfit that thinks he’s Flash.  He looks at himself and thinks, “Dude, I’m a super hero.”  And Jesus looks at me and says, “If you want to truly know me, you need a little more of what Flash over there has.  He gets it.” 

Galatians 3:27 says, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  The truth is, if I actually believed that, I’d run a little bit faster. 

God Speed,

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