Last Sunday, I used “Wonder Woman” as the modern lesson through which our still-speaking God shared wisdom. I had to watch clips of it several times to be sure I quoted it right. There were so many lessons to be gained that it was an easy movie from which to preach.
In the final battle scene, Diana is fighting Ares, the god of war. Initially, she was convinced that if she could defeat him she could bring peace. He points out, though, that he didn’t really cause the wars; he simply encouraged the corruption that already was in the hearts of people. He claimed to want to purge the planet and start over, making it the paradise it was intended to be.
He tells Diana that people don’t deserve to be rescued, that they don’t deserve her. Diana recognizes the truth in this, but she replies, “It is not about deserve; it is about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love can truly save the world.”
Those words could have come right out of the Bible. The idea of treating people with grace based on who you are, rather than who they are, is the heart of what Jesus did and said. It is a truth that is admired but rarely emulated. That KIND of love is all that can truly save the world, but I wonder if Ares might be right in saying that humans don’t deserve to be loved like that because we most often have proven ourselves incapable of loving like that.
There is an old story about a monk trying to save a scorpion from drowning on the bank of a rushing river. Every time the monk reached out to rescue him the scorpion stung his hand. An observer said to the monk, “Old man you are wasting your time. It is the scorpion’s nature to sting.”
“Ah,” said the holy man, “I understand, but it is my nature to save, and I cannot allow his nature to change mine.”
“It is not about deserve; it is about what you believe.”
So, how does that play out in your life? Are you able to live with the relentless grace of God, or does Ares have more sway, fueling your anger and demand for retribution?
Rev. Michael Piazza