I saw my Christian kids flinch a little when I started referring to “The Jesus Story.” Apparently, the Mother Theresa quote on the wall, my stories about my oldest misbehaving at Church, or my copious use of biblical examples because those are the stories I know best have not been enough to clue the Christian kids in that we are both on Team Jesus. They either haven’t gotten the hint, or have been told they need to be vigilant in “defending their faith” one too many times, because I was about to get defended against.
I took that moment to call a time out. (Literally. I put my hands in a T and yelled “time out”) I explained to them that while some people may have church at school on Sundays, (we do) an English class was perhaps not the appropriate time to do so. But we can discuss literature and the Bible as literature, so that is what we are doing here.
What I really want to say is this: Of course Jesus Christ is a hero journey! Didn’t I just tell you that Joseph Campbell says that all cultures have them. Doesn’t your Bible say that our hearts cry out for our redeemer?
As I was teaching the hero journey this year, this is what has been brought to my attention. We tell the story of Jesus. We do, because it is what is in our hearts when we are born. We long for a story with a hero, for one who chooses the path to His own destruction, and survives anyway, someone with more power, more authority, a clean heart. We are born to tell the story of Jesus.
We tell it in the super-heroes, the batmans, the supermans, the x-mans. Those stories point to Jesus, JK Rowling and Tolkien were writing about Him too. Some do it on purpose, others do it because they long for the one great hero. We want to know that Simba is still alive and coming back. We want to know that there is a river that we can dip ourselves in that will make us live forever, we want to be worthy. We love stories of redemption because we long to be redeemed. We want stories where the old goes and the new comes, and when the old comes back the new defeats it. We need to hear those stories.
Of course I am talking about the Jesus story. He’s the hero.