Why You Love Epic Films and Stories: Hearing the Call to Live an Epic Life
The fog covered landscape, rough and desolate, held great adventure and great danger. What lay beyond those mountains in the distance, no one knew. The land which this small band of men ventured into was the stuff of legend. What was certain in all their minds was the great evil which was gathering strength in the land beyond. They would, without question, have to face all manners of vile creatures as they set upon their holy and sacred quest.
How can the heart of men not ache with excitement and jealousy at the hearing of such a tale? Many epic poems and stories have been told which have captured the imagination of men and women alike. Now in the age of film, these stories, along with new ones, are displayed on screens for the sheer awe of movie watchers. The list is long, grossing millions of dollars:
To soon to release The Hobbit, Alexander, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and finally Harry Potter.
What is it within me and countless others that aches for the sort of adventures that these fabled characters of myth set out upon? What is it that makes grown men weep when the journey’s end is reached and all the strife and suffering has been endured for the protection and preservation of the good?
Such questions filled my mind while watching Lord of the Rings for the first time in the movie theaters with my friends. We, a group of twenty-something college kids, stood in line and watched the films on their opening nights. This sort of behavior, now looking back on it, seems more akin to that of teenage girls ecstatically excited to see the new Twilight film and the exposed chest of some teen heart-throb.
None of these things drew us here.
It was the adventure. It was the epic story of a life lived sacrificially set out to combat evil as the defender of the good. To be a knight. To be a hero. To rescue.
At the core, it is this life for which each one of us wanted to live.
It may be that this desire was built into the hearts of men. Why do young boys want to go out and play with toy guns pretending to be the hero of some story made on the fly with the neighborhood kids? It is an old story—one reenacted over and over for a thousand generations.
The Christian life, as I have come to see it, was meant to be such an adventure.
One need only look at the epic stories of Christ and the apostles. They traveled in foreign and local lands calling people to repent while wielding the power of the Holy Spirit and combating the evil’s of the devil and his demons.
It sounds like an adventure story and yet this is no fiction.
The life to which we are called is much like these epic tales.
As a young boy, I had a reoccurring dream. They varied slightly, but the theme and structure always stayed the same. My friends and I were modern-day Apostles or some sort of prophet of old. We traveled from city to city calling the people to repentance through wonders and signs like that of Ezekiel and Paul. This dream was not the product of bad pizza the night before. I longed for such an adventure as my friends and I set out on an epic journey.
Are we not called to such a life? Are we not called to such power?
As followers of Christ with the Holy Spirit dwelling within, we are sent to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel, heal the sick, clothe the naked, and cast out demons. In short, we are called to rescue the innocent and helpless from the evils of a dark and vile enemy whom seeks to destroy all that is good.
And while each one of our parts in this epic poem is unknown to me, it is without question that this story will be told and the deeds of Christ-followers will be sung of a thousand years from now by men and by angels.
What part will you play in this story? The one called to action but does nothing, never again to be seen or mentioned in the epic? Or will you be the one who heeded the call and set out to destroy evil and whose sacrifice and devotion to the good will be remembered for a thousand generations?
It’s your choice.
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