News about religious groups disagreeing, splitting or filing cases would reach our laptops while we chat, surf or just simply check our accounts. These news often include as well persecution of thriving Christian communities in closed or far flung countries and decline of church attendances in the United States and Europe. We are given an impression that name-call Christianity or religiosity itself is declining in a grand scale around the world. The news of Atheist bus campaigns in Western Europe and recently Atheist jeep campaigns in the Philippines would seal off the veracity of these disturbing new developments, or should I recession? These recession of religious and/or spiritual values have been the subject of sermons from pulpits and cathedras yet what is the whole truth? Is the world really falling to recession or is it just their apparent denial of something they so longed themselves as well?
Yesterday, I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 7 Part 2 in Trinoma Cinema. I had the pleasure of relishing the details of the movie being alone being seats apart from my stranger-neighbors. The movie was full of action and drama but what struck me was not the fight scenes or the battle between Harry Potter and Voldemort itself but the recollection of Snape’s memories encapsuled in his tear. It was not the fact that Snape had a “past” with Harry’s mother or his secret protection on him but the fact that Harry Potter really has to die for him to defeat the evil lord. Dying so that all men (muggles and wizards) may live? This seems so familiar and actually unsettling for this is a Christological theme in itself that the Messiah who will be the Savior of the world has to die so that all men may live. Even though the author JK Rowling identifies her membership with the Church of Scotland, her religious convictions are questionable. I should also mention that it is not only her writings that have a “Savior Theme” on it but many other writings by people that are in fact of other religious convictions? So, what does this tell us?
Literatures from across corners of the Globe have often been obsessed with an idea of a Savior saving them from harm or disgrace but often, they are treated merely as literature and not actual religious convictions or text. Harry Potter and many other writings confirm something I have been suspecting long before; people want a Savior but they do not know who that Savior really is. These obsession with having a Savior produced a pantheon of heroes that span from our very own Lam-ang for example to Captain Planet of our present time. The production of more fantasy heroes does not stop there as well for many more are being made along the assembly plant of imaginative minds. In the present time, this obsession has turned into denial. Some people such as some Jews who have undergone the Holocaust have given up on a Savior altogether. People know they need a Savior yet they do not know Him and deny Christ as their Savior. What happened here? They know they need a Savior yet they rejected the Savior Himself and instead drown themselves from these “saviors” that only exist in their minds. What did Christ save us from anyway?
This takes us back to the conversation of Jesus with Nicodemus, a teacher of the law in John 3:1-21. From her we get John 3:16 which is the ever famous verses that everyone seems to have memorized. From this single verse we get the answer to our question; Christ saved us from death but the question also goes; what kind of death? Don’t we all die anyway? Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Romans especially in Chapters 5 to 7 talks about death, not just physical death but spiritual death that sin brought to mankind. This death is separation from God. Just as physical death is separation from the spirit which gives life, spiritual death is the separation from God which is the giver of all life. The ultimate penalty for our sin is eternal death in hell, a place of eternal separation from God. This is what Christ saved us from this kind of death. This same death is the very reason why we experience pain and suffering on earth, this we will feel as we continue on our life here. The very reason people deny the Savior over a man-made savior is because they only see salvation from the surface problems that men see, failing to acknowledge the inherent source of it all.
People need a Savior but they do not know Him. Oftentimes, they a rumor of a Savior and will often hear about Christ in passing but without someone telling them who the real Savior is and what He did for us, the Savior Christ will just remain as a dream for them. Religions fall but this pressing need of a Savior will continue to stir in their hearts. Why leave the people to dream and hear about Him in someone else’s form if you yourself can tell men Who He is? In the story of Harry Potter, Harry Potter assumed evil himself when a part of Voldemort (French for “flight of death”) was buried deep inside him, he suffered in the hands of people, he died, he lived again and he defeated death himself but he will continue to be just Harry Potter of fiction, the product of JK Rowling’s imaginative mind. If people can immerse their whole childhood in their fictional savior, how much more for a real one? Maybe its time for you to tell them that a real man lived, suffered, became sin for us, died, rose again from the grave and defeated death itself. He is real! He lived and still lives up to this day – He is Jesus Christ!