Man of Steel and Son of God #1:
The Power of a Mythic Story:
I love the power of a good story. I have always been an avid reader, and in addition to reading fantasy stories, I also enjoy watching a good story in the form of a movie or television series. The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Wars, Braveheart and Superman are all stories that stir my heart. There are many authors that have talked about the power of a mythic story, including Christian author John Eldredge.
He writes: “Story is the language of the heart… Hollywood screenwriting teacher Robert McKee believes that we go to the movies because we hope to find in someone else’s story something that will help us understand our own… What is all the great stories that have ever moved you, brought you joy or tears – what if they are telling you something about the true Story into which you were born, into which you have been cast?” (Epic).
The reason all of the stories we read (whether they are fairy tales, myths, fantasy stories or comic books) resonate with our hearts because they remind us of our own true story, the life we are living. Did you ever notice how all of the good stories have the same ingredients? Love. Adventure. Danger. Heroism. Romance. Sacrifice. The Battle of Good and Evil. Unlikely heroes. Insurmountable odds.
“All the great stories pretty much follow the same story line. Things were once good, then something awful happened, and now a great battle must be fought or a journey taken. At just the right moment (which feels like the last possible moment), a hero comes and sets things right, and life is found again.” (John Eldredge, Epic). Isn’t that the story of Christianity? The Bible tells us about the reality of a God who created us and loves us, but there is also a devil who has come to steal, kill and destroy, an evil force that must be fought against if we want to experience the abundant, joy-filled life that the Lord intends for us. This is the true story.
In another one of his books, John Eldredge also said, “Mythic stories help us to see clearly, which is to say, they help us see with the eyes of the heart. So cast a wide net, and draw in all those stories that have ever stirred your soul, quickened your spirit, brought you to tears or joy or heroic imagination.” (Waking the Dead).
Think about this for a minute: When God gave us the Bible, He didn’t give us a math textbook with formulas to understanding the universe. He didn’t just give us a rulebook telling us how to live. Instead what you will find in the Bible is a collection of stories about the lives of heroic men and women and their successes and failures, and lessons we can learn from them. Through their stories, we can discover how we too can know the one true living God.
C.S. Lewis was a great Christian author who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, a seven book children’s fantasy series that tells the story of Jesus as an allegory. The Great Lion Aslan is Jesus; the White Witch is the devil, and the Emperor Across the Sea is God the father. Lewis wrote: “I suspect that men have sometimes derived more spiritual sustenance from myths they did not believe than from the religion they professed.” (C.S. Lewis). It’s time to get fascinated by Jesus once again!
Pastor Chris Jordan