One of the biggest events in DC Comics right now is the revealing of the Blackest Night storyline based around the Green Lantern Corps. It has the tagline The Dead Shall Rise… and up until the last year, the idea of multiple colors in the Green Lantern world was debatable. I truly appreciate what the multiple colors have brought to this fictional universe; hope, love, and a unmistakable reference to a Messiah. To my surprise, as I read Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps 1 of 3, there was a sermon reference jumping off the pages in the clearest words that may have ever been spoken in a comic.
As the reader is introduced to the Blue Lantern Corps, there is a journey about to take place to find the Messiah. Their faith and guidance comes from a fairly thick book that strikes a very similar resemblance to what the Bible tends to look like. So, where do they need to go in search of the Messiah? The top of a mountain, of course. Is this a reference to Mount Sinai and the journeys of Moses or could it be in reference toward many of the other mountain top journeys found in the Bible. Then again, it could just be coincidence.
To continue, as the family makes its way up the mountain, Saint Walker (the name of the first Blue Lantern) loses his whole family as he makes his way up the mountain. In each instance of tragedy, he continues to tell those that are around him to have faith and that all will be well in the end. Some of my favorite lines come from his son as they ascend the mountain. As the son looks down at his village from the mountain, he notices that he cannot see the tragedy and pain that filled the village and asks if that is why God does not seem to help those in trouble. To him, if God is found at the top of the mountain, then He must not be able to see all the pain and suffering. Saint Walker responds by saying that God wants to see how those in question will respond in the end.
As Saint Walker reaches the summit and feels that his faith is about to be validated, he makes a surprising discovery: the Messiah is not there. He then goes through a huge crisis of faith – yelling at God because of everything that he has lost on his journey and what he felt should have been waiting for him on the summit. As Saint Walker cries out, asking to be shown a message from God, there is a response. In the words of the comic, “God yelled back…” in the form of thunder and lightning. He sees his reflection in a beautifully polished rock and he makes his way back to the village to share what he witnessed: reflection.
From their book of faith, Garba, Chapter Three, verse One Hundred and Thirteen, it reads, “Live life every day as if it were the first and the last for they are both a celebration. And when we face the end, face it together.” In those words, however fictional, we see the core of the Blue Lanterns: Hope. Saint Walker gains the Blue Ring of Power because he posses the ability to provide hope to those around him.
I was brought back to one of my favorite verses in the Bible in Hebrews 10:25 that tells us that even in the approaching last days, we need to worship together and give each other hope and community.
I truly enjoy comics and love being able to look for lessons in them. I suggest that for any youth leader, this option to find God or, yet, the messages of God in any medium is essential to meet youth in the culture in which they thrive. Movies, music, books, poetry and even comics are communication “gold mines” for youth. If you are throwing out lessons that include the so-called secular world, you could be hurting the ministry that you are apart of… the youth are surviving for God in the secular world.
Just like the story of Saint Walker, how many of us have searched for Jesus and then were disappointed when we did not get the answers we were looking for? How many of us did not notice that Jesus was there, but not how we expected? Did Moses expect to see God in a burning bush? Did we expect Him in a cloud of dust, or even more importantly, how many thought that the Messiah would come in the form of a carpenter?
God is all around us, He created it all. We just need to open our eyes, remove the barriers, and be open to the endless possibilities of God.