Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Peace and Prayer (Oratio and the Immortal Iron Fist)

There have been many bearers of the name "Iron Fist" throughout history. The current is Danny Rand. Through his experiences on K'un-Lun, he has received this immortal power which enables him to focus in a spiritual way.

He has been on teams such as Heroes for Hire, the Secret Avengers, and the Immortal Weapons. But, most-prominently he is teamed up with his friend Luke Cage.

The reason why I bring him up today is not because of his awesome combat skills, his training in a place known as Heaven, or even his in-depth back-story. It's not because of his death and resurrection story, his dragon power, or even his enchanted fists.

It's because he knows what to do.

Existentialism is a rampant belief in our society. It plagues everything from TV commercials to campaign speeches, it teaches that you can do this on your own. You need no one else. It is flat-out denial of our dependence on God and one another.

While many look within to try to find the answer, they hope somehow they can do this, they can get through, all on their own, they miss the point.

Iron Fist should never be accused of doing that.

Although, it may appear that he is looking within, trying to find the source of his personal power, he knows that this power isn't something that had first began with him. As he meditates, he's searching for something that is already there, something that he cannot control or form, something that he can only receive. This is something that he wishes would work not for him, but through him

Even in the midst of battle, we find him on his knees.

He's not looking to princes or presidents, but to something higher. When he needs help, he knows where to go.

He doesn't hesitate.

Not too long ago, I heard a sermon on the peace that passes all understanding. The preacher had us visualize a time of peace. It might have been an open field or a calm sea-shore. It could have been a happy time with friends or family, even some sort of accomplishment and relief. 

I had thought of a picture that I had seen, a small red bird perched inside of a tiny crevice between sea-side rocks, calmly grooming himself while a horrendous thunderstorm picked up the waves, crashing them against the rocks beneath and around him, lightning lighting up the sky, and thunder booming. Although his world was in turmoil, he was safe, at peace.

As the preacher continued his sermon, he had lost me. Instead, I thought of another image. I remembered the Superman ride at Gurnee's Six Flags, I remembered a roller coaster that spun around and around as it picked up speed at the Mall of America, I remembered the excitement, the wind blowing my face, my family and friends riding beside me. I remembered my joy, my laughter, my peace. You see, I love roller coasters. They don't scare me. Even though my body is being moved at incredible speeds and tugged around like a rag-doll, I know I'm safe. These rides have been tested a billion times before I have ever got onto them, not to mention all of the people riding before me, the theme park probably fears for my safety more than I do, they'd hate the bad reputation and publicity that comes along with a roller coaster crash, and, above all that, I feel the safety bars on my shoulders and my lap. I am safe, secure, at peace.

Then, while the preacher has moved on and neared the end of his sermon, even more scenes play across my mind's eye.

I see a group of men out on a boat, the waves crash, it almost top-sizes. They fear for their lives. They have no idea what to do. The boat's being pushed back and forth, the mast is almost hit by the atrocious waves. It begins to break under the pressure, water starts flooding the ship. Then, a man with a stern face who looks like he knows what to do comes up from the bellows of the ship to face the storm. He puts his hands up against the wind and the rain, the thunderclouds and lightning, his long hair is blowing everywhere and his beard is dripping wet. He shouts in a voice louder than the storm, "Peace! Be still!" And, the wind ceased, it was calm, at peace.

Then, I see a man coming out of a cave and standing on a mountain. He has longer, darker hair than the man on the ship. His skin has been tanned by the sun. He looks scared yet secure. He's been running for his life. He looks malnourished and alone, the sun is beating down on him and he is thirsty. But, there he stands, waiting, trusting. As he waits, a wind overtakes the mountain. The man almost loses his balance, but he is somehow able to remain upright under the pressure of the gust of wind. As the wind continues for the timeless minute, he puts his hand against the stone to brace himself. As he does, there's a crashing and cracking noise. Rocks begin to fall, clamoring their way down the side of the mountain, smashing everything in their path. But, somehow they miss the man. He stands secure. After the wind, there's an earthquake. Even more rocks split open and tumble down as the runaway bears witness. A fire spreads. There's turmoil everywhere. Nothing is safe. But, the man remains standing, sound and secure. Finally, after the fire, the man hears the sound of a low whisper, "What are you doing here Elijah?" The voice gives him hope, safety, peace. It tells him that although he fears for his life, his Lord will remain with him. God has a plan for his life.

You see, if I had thought of just the calm meadow or the sunny day at the beach, it would have been just that... just another day... just another scene. There would be no contrast to know peace. 

Now, I think of all of the tragedies that have passed, everything from the Dark Knight shootings to the Boston bombs. There is a peace that passes within this contrast. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding. Although, there's turmoil and torture, punishment and war, there is safety, there is trust.

We can know that although we do not understand  what is going on in this sick world, we can trust in its physician. In the midst of battle, the world should find us on our knees. Here, we can continue to seek the Lord, we can gain strength in Him, He gives us peace, a peace that He has paid for with His Son, a peace that makes us not just right in this world, but also in the next.

Do not hesitate.

We know where to go, who to turn to, who to trust.

Not in ourselves, but in God.

With Him, all things are possible.

And, he works through us. He empowers us with an immortal strength, to carry on and to be there for one another.

No comments:

Post a Comment