Tuesday, April 12, 2022



       Everyone loves a good adventure story.  When we hear a good story or read about an account of an interesting or exciting event, we often imagine ourselves the main character.  For instance, if you are watching a superhero film or reading a good bool or comic, do you not, generally, identify with the main character?  Do you not, generally, imagine what you would have done differently or how cool it would have been to do what the hero has done?  Every good hero has a side kick and every good hero has ancillary characters assisting him or her to various degrees. Do you ever identify with those characters?

     When I think of Batman, and I am referring to the 1966 iteration, because I'm old and that is the Batman I grew up with, I notice four important characters: Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon. Batman is the main character, obviously, and Robin is clearly Batman's sidekick. Let's not forget, Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon play important roles as well.  

Batgirl pretty much has her own thing going on, but shows up and teams up when appropriate.  In the 1966 version, we really do not get a story arc for Batgirl.  In Batman's story, Batgirl an important side character who gets to, occasionally, share in Batman's missions.

Commissioner Gordon, in the 1966 version, seems only to exist to facilitate Batman's work. Gordon does not participate in the work but often alerts Batman of a situation with an arch-criminal and then, shows up after all the real fighting so Batman can explain how he unraveled the latest caper. 

     So, by now, you may be asking yourself, what in the world does Batman have to do with the Passion Week of Christ?

     This past weekend, I got to hear a great message from Pastor T.J. Earl of Knoxville Community Church, as he spoke on the Triumphal Entry of Christ.  A major element of the account of Christ's arrival on, what would become known forevermore as Palm Sunday, is the acquisition of the donkey ridden by Jesus.  

     I have always been intrigued by the donkey part of the story.  Mark 11:1-6 -  Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus1 sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go.

     Clearly, in this event, Jesus is Batman and the two disciples are Robin. What can we make of the owners of the Donkey?   In my Batman 1966 analogy, I see the donkey owners as Commissioner Gordon.  Please stay with me here, I promise there is a spiritual application coming...

     Imagine, for a moment, you are the owner of a donkey and it's colt. Maybe you have a dream, or a vision, or maybe you clearly hear the voice of God tell you some random guys are going to show up and start to untie your donkeys.  God further tells you, "If they tell you the Lord needs the donkey, let them have it."  Now imagine for a moment it's not a donkey, but your car.  Do you get the idea?  

    The donkey owners seem to have no idea what is about to take place and nowhere do we see them participating.  The donkey owners are only aware God gave them some pretty bizarre instructions and they were obedient to those instructions. There is no back story, no story arc, just an appearance in the story to facilitate Jesus' mission.  

      The point of this post is to remind you, when it comes to obedience to Christ, sometimes we can be something other than the lead role and still be very important to the story.  There may be times God calls you to be Batman, the main character of a specific mission.  Other times you may be the sidekick for someone else's calling.  That's pretty cool too because you still get to participate in the action and see the results.  What happens though when God presses upon your heart to do a random act of kindness, or to give assistance to someone you will probably never see again. What happens when you are guided, by God's Spirit, to do something that seems senseless or even futile?  You may very well be acting as someone's Commissioner Gordon.  

     We can't always be the main character or the sidekick, sometimes our role in a move of God is unknown, yet our obedience is crucial to someone else fulfilling their calling.  You have no idea how a small act of obedience to something, which seems insignificant to you, can facilitate a major work of the Spirit through someone else.

     Just as Commissioner Gordon's diligent attentiveness to his work allowed Batman to be successful in his many missions, your obedience to God in small mundane tasks is important to someone. 

     Or, you may be Batgirl, busy with your own ministry or mission but, willing to assist someone else's ministry or calling as God leads.  

     Because the church is a body, every part needs every part sometimes.  It is imperative we are open to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit indwelling us, it is imperative we are listening for that still small voice of God, giving us direction.  Be careful you do not miss out on an opportunity to be a blessing to someone because you are too caught up in yourself or your calling.  

    It's cool to be the Batman of your own story, it's cool to be Robin and still right there in the action, and it's cool to be Batgirl doing your own thing and participating in other's activities.  Maybe Commissioner Gordon seems less cool, less important or less crucial to the mission of the Church. I think those donkey owners were pretty cool.  They were obedient to God without knowing any of the details and may not have ever known their role until they read about it in one of the Gospel accounts.  That's true cool!

    Jesus told His disciple Thomas, "you believe because you see, but blessed are those who believe who do not see."  That takes faith.  The donkey owners had to exercise faith when strangers showed up to take their donkey.  "Hey! what are you guys doing?"  "The Lord needs this."  "Oh, ok, go ahead and take him."  Being the Commissioner Gordon of someone else's mission is not always easy and certainly not glamorous, but it is essential. 

      Your seemingly small acts of obedience, your unheralded acts of kindness and your diligent pursuit of holiness is not unnoticed by  God.  Be willing and open to whatever role God calls you. Look for opportunities to be Batman but don't miss out on the opportunity to be Commissioner Gordon as well.

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!

 As we contemplate what is referred to as the Passion Week of Christ, one of the elements of the account of Christ's