Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Heroes Who Quit and Why, Final

Larry Norman was the granddad of Christian rock. He wrote an amazing article about his life experiences in Christian rock. Its effectively a 7-page biography any Christian artist - musical or otherwise - should read. Larry knew why he was here, what his life was about.

There is only one legitimate reason for a Hero to leave, after all is said and done.

His job is finished. He's accomplished his task.

He's shone brightly: he's rescued the foolish, he's taught the listening; and then, when all that can be done is done, he leaves.

It is lonely being a Hero. You arrive only to leave.

Do you remember the "Lonely Man" theme from the old Incredible Hulk TV series?

It haunted me. I understood that loneliness as an artistic young boy. There is something primal in all of us. We want community. We want fellowship and people who understand us.

That may be the very reason heroism is rare. It casts you out from your community to serve others. It makes you an alien to your own family and friends.

But then, if you realize that - whether you are serving overseas or in a soup kitchen or the local homeless shelter, visiting the wounded, the dying, the lost, then you KNOW why you are there as well.

"The son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost."

Jesus said that. Ever wonder why He left, since there were so many more that were still lost, hurting and clueless to what life was really about?

Because His work was finished. "I have accomplished that which the Father sent Me to do."

He had healed, taught, loved, challenged. He had discipled His men.

Then He paid for His followers by dying for them. Willingly. Intentionally.

"No one takes My life from Me. I lay it down of my own accord."

"I have the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father."

Wow. Jesus was the Hero of Heroes. He had a script and He followed it - even the very part where He had to die so He could be resurrected.

But just as He was going to do this, He assured His disciples it was a good thing, this leaving.

"It is to your benefit that I go away. For the Father will send you another Helper, the Holy Spirit..."

When Christians say they have been 'born again', they mean they have something another person does not have: Jesus Christ's spirit living inside them. They have a power or insight or ability they DID NOT have before.

So Jesus did His work so He could give birth to heroes. To give them something they could not have on their own. God's power. God's spirit. God's wisdom. And a truly heroic Christian will often stop and ask for God to grant them empowerment, wisdom and discernment. It takes CONSTANT humility to do this. It ain't natural, but I have seen it work again and again in my life. In fact, my only areas of grief as a Christian are when I ignored this gentle Voice speaking to my intuition, my gut and guiding me.

You can, unfortunately, quench this. But a Wise Man does not. ;)

And then, because you are following the Hero of Heroes, it is sometimes time to call it a day.

The job has been done; the message delivered; the love sent.

Elijah handled his mantle to Elisha. Jesus handed His to 12 men (Paul was the true replacement for Judas, IMNSHO). They went on to bring power and healing and love to the pagan Roman Empire. They changed the world.

So, it's time to leave. The lady has been rescued; the villains routed; the hurt have been bandaged.

We love heroes who stand up and fight for the truth - creatively, compassionately, consistently.

But they only arrive to leave.

One day we will all sit at the table together. The Vikings had part of it right, actually. There will be feasting and joy in heaven, glorifying not ourselves but the Lord of Light who granted us victories.

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with few things - I will put you in charge of MANY things! Come and share your Master's happiness!"

Well done, Larry. Well done.

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