Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Heroine for the Kingdom

I am currently working on preparing the gospel of Matthew as an epic storytelling. The final product will take between four and five hours to tell in it's entirety. A daunting task I must admit, but one I've been contemplating for some time.

I've chosen the gospel of Matthew because it has always been my favorite gospel. It is often referred to as The Kingdom Gospel because of the number of times the phrase "kin
gdom of God" or "kingdom of heaven" appears. The story of the Gospel Kingdom reads as well as any other lengendary tale. The Herald roams the country declaring the return of the Heir to the Kingdom. The Heir indeed appears and gathers about him a band of loyal followers. Together they wander from place to place openly proclaiming His imminent return to the throne, calling out the corrupt usurpers who lead his people down a misguided path.

Throughout his campaign he demonstrates to the people that He is indeed the rightful Heir, rallying them to His cause. He confronts the corrupt officials who have usurped His Father's house and challenges their right to lead the people. The story's climax comes
with a final confrontation between the Heir and the true force behind those who would usurp His Father's authority.

It has everything a legendary story needs... except a heroine.

Every hero needs a heroine: Aragorn needs his Arwen, Arthur needs his Guinevere, Paul Atreides needs his Chani. In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge says that to be complete a man needs "a beauty to rescue" and popular culture would certainly seem to bear this out. Nearly every hero rescues his heroine and they live happily ever after.

In days gone by the heroine was often a wisp of a girl who faints at the sight of blood, screams incessantly when the monster appears, then trips and sprains her ankle during the escape. Not my idea of a heroine. Personally I lean more toward the pioneer type, bravely loading her hero's guns for him while they fight off the rustlers who would steal their ranch.

One of my favorite heroines is Evelyn Carnahan (played by Rachel Weisz) in "The Mummy", and "The Mummy Returns". Though suitably terrified of the mummy she doesn't back down. Instead she stands side by side with her hero, guns blazing. In fact when her hero faces certain doom it is Evelyn that comes to the rescue.

But Jesus does not have a heroine in the gospels. There is no lover standing by his side to fend off the bad guys. Which is likely why people like Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code keep trying to give him one. It seems wrong in human eyes for the greatest figure of all time to die a martyr's death without ever having tasted the fruits of true love. A match between Jesus and Mary Magdalene appears to solve the problem and tries, at least in part, to give the story a "happily ever after" quality. There's only one problem - Jesus already has a heroine.

The reason so many people don't recognize this fact is you won't exactly find her in the gospel of Matthew or in any of the others. Her part shows up a little later in the story.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Ephesians 5:25-27

"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. .... And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." Revelation 21:9-11, 25-27

You see, the heroine in the story of the Gospels is the church herself. And since the church is made up of those who call upon his name then we, my dear reader, are the heroine in The Kingdom Gospel. We are the heroine He risked it all for. It was for the love of you and me that He gave everything he had to reclaim the throne that was His.

The question left for us to answer is, "What kind of heroine are we?" Are we the wisp of a girl who faints at the sight of the enemy and sprains her ankle during the escape? Or the steadfast partner, sword in hand, ready to face whatever comes as long as we are at His side? Or some other kind of heroine entirely?

I suppose that is a question each of us has to answer for ourselves, but regardless of what kind of heroine we are, Jesus remains the hero of the story. He is the rightful Heir to the Father's throne. He has faced and defeated the enemy leaving only a few minions running around for us to deal with. And one day He will retrn to claim His heroine and take her back to be with Him.

And if you check out the end of the book you will discover that we do indeed live "happily ever after."


Covering My Legal Derriere Dept.
First picture: Liv Tyler as Arwen. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Copyright New Line Cinema
Second Picture: Rachel Weisz as Evelyn Carnahan. The Mummy Copyright Universal Pictures

1 comment:

Phil English said...


I like what you've done here! It's a great connection to the great hero stories of today's media.

I'm looking forward to hearing your telling of Matthew. If only in parts to start with, I always look forward to your stories. It would be great if you could work these ideas into the flavour of your telling of Matthew.