a blog from our pastors and staff
by Janell Clingenpeel, Hillside's friendly church secretary
I am in love with all things nerdy and thankfully a lot of my church family is either the same or respects the way of the nerd. Today I want to talk to you about the Marvel movie, Black Panther. This may seem weird for a church to post a blog about such things, but it had some really relevant and amazing things that we can incorporate into biblical teaching.
Before I go further, I have a couple things I feel I must tell you:
1) Black Panther is rated PG-13 and for good reason. I leave it up to you to discern if this movie is right for you. PluggedIn.com is great resource for movie reviews written from a Christian perspective and I encourage you to read their review on Black Panther here: http://www.pluggedin.com/movie-reviews/black-panther-2018
2) SPOILERS!!!! For those of you who have not seen the movie and do not like to know anything about it before going to see it, come back to read this later!
The scene I would like to talk to you about today is a post-credit scene. After a huge battle of good vs. evil and our hero, the Black Panther, finding out a lot about himself, his country and his past, he decides his country can no longer hide in the shadows and lie that Wakanda (a fictional, but amazing country) is a third-world county, but a country that can provide aid and seeks to bring unity to the world. At the end of the credits we see King T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) address the United Nations; he gives this speech:
"Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We cannot. We must not," T'Challa declares. "We will work to be an example of how we as brothers and sisters on this earth should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe."
I have watched the movie twice now, and each time I am moved by these words: “More connects us than separates us.”
It seems like more and more every day our community, country, world becomes more divided. It is a simple truth to realize more does connect us than separate. The Bible tells us over and over to love one another, and for good reason. We are often divided by divisive talk, political views, what we look like, how we act. But if we were to simply remember to love one another, more than ourselves, I feel we would find the truth of “more connects us than separates” an easier truth to live. Just do a search on the interwebs, and the Bible tells us over and over to love. We are often faced with times of crisis, and it is during these times I find it the hardest to reach out to others. I often build walls and try to handle things myself. T’Challa (and the Bible) tells us that the wise build bridges. We should reach out for help; we should reach out to those who need help. Simply love those around you. Be kind. Be open to help in times of need, and open to help others when you can.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
[written by Pastor Becky Todd]
I have been doing some catching up and cleaning out projects around our home and at church. As I sift through accumulations, some almost thirty years old, I wonder why has this stuff stacked up? Was it forgotten? Did someone think it might be useful again? I have items saved because I "hope for" the right opportunity I might use them again. But as the dust settles, I have to ask would it be better to move it on to someone else who can make use of it more than I could? Is this stuff I have moved three times worth taking up it's space in my life. My Grandfather always said, "I might need that", but the "might-day" never came. Are some of those piles at church, just reminders of days long past that we hope we get back to again? Some of those "might" things are no longer applicable in our current time.
I've been reflecting on the spiritual applications of these piles; though not a physical pile, we tend to stack up things in our soul. Some of these feel familiar to me; unforgiveness, emotional pain, an anxious heart, unresolved grief. I think you get the idea. We carry around things that weigh us down. Are these things worth carrying around or keeping stacked up in that quiet lonely corner of our life waiting for the right moment to release them. A word to the wise, the release often comes in an un-welcomed way, like reacting instead of responding. At some point, it can become so over-whelming that we live with it and we become blinded to the effects it has in our life and relationships with God and others. Once in a while we need to stop, examine the pile, sort through it's value in our present life, receive God's healing where it's needed and embrace the moment. God's Word says the moment is now!
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." God is not saying to ignore the past. Self-reflection, counseling to heal past hurts, Biblical accountability all have tremendous value. But, he does say dwelling, or living in the past is not the way. God wants to do a new work in us! He longs to bring fresh streams of water to our cluttered, junky souls! When we emerge to the other side of the wilderness (and wilderness can be hard work) we find the open field (Psalm 18:19). Let's live in the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
Happy Spring cleaning!