It was so dark that I turned on the outside light on the porch. But as I did so, I heard a flash and saw a bit of brightness from around the corner of my house and - ZZZzzzaaarrkkkk - went the transformer.
The house went dark. Thankfully, the coffee was made and breakfast cooked for my Nancy, so we were OK.
Last night, strangely, just before I went to bed, I wrote up my favorite villain to fight the Avengers - Ultron!
He's one bad mamma-jamma, let me tell you. Hits like Thor, has a put you down in one shot 'encephalo beam' and has this annoying habit of hypnotizing people so they rebuild him AFTER he's destroyed WITHOUT their knowledge.
"Honey you look tired! Were you up all night building a killer indestructible robot?"
"Whaaat? Of course not! That's ridiculous!"
"Oh, OK ...sorry. Can I get you anything?"
"You got about 300 lbs of adamantium lying around, sweetie? Sure would make this headache go away..."
Read a beautiful send-up of the Avengers/Ultron repeat battles here at "Random Happenstance", a blog by Googum.
I wonder - do you think Ultron represents anything spiritual in us? His hatred of the Avengers (the good guys) and yet his inability to just leave them alone ("Die, father!")?
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.
He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.
"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."
You know, that Jesus never minces words.
He says things we don't like to hear - especially us independently-minded, hedonistically skeptical Americans - but He tries to warn us about how defeating one foe and getting that taken care of can actually open the door to several more, at least spiritually.
Many a Christian has gotten free of past sins and indiscretions -only to become more like the devil in his pride and rebellion and anger later on.
In other words, we clean up but don't fill-up so we stay empty and then the Adversary takes advantage of that to REALLY move in.
We who follow Christ cannot just "stop doing evil". We have to be filled with Christ.
Still don't get it? Well, let me give you an "IRL" example. In Alcoholics Anonymous, they have come to realize that it is not enough to just NOT drink. The habitual use of their time each day to drink has to be filled up with NEW activities or they will go back to drinking out of sheer boredom.
Any decent fun activity will do. Taking classes and learning are great things to do.
Or, for example, my yard, where I have found a lot of weeds growing freely in the back. Its not enough to just kill them, because I know next year they will come back again and again. I am SO tired of them but I am about to give up altogether.
My neighbor John (one cool guy) came over at my bequest and not only showed me the perfect stuff to use to kill the growing clover but also told me to be sure to fill in the area with more grass seed.
"The grass will block it from coming back," he said.
"...DUH! They choke them out of the space, don't they? They can't grow in the same spot!"
"Right," he agreed. "Just be sure to seed well in the Fall."
I was so grateful to him for that. I saw he was right - where ever the grass was thin, the weeds surely came in.
Now do you get it?
Jesus knows how to clean you up. God sent Him to save us.
Its our job to keep a good house, though. Filling our minds with God's "seed" - His Word. "The sower went out to sow his seed..." and by that He meant the Word of God.
We've got to do it. It can grow and change our hearts and minds, shielding them from the lies and illusions of this world.
...well, Avenger, how much adamantium plating do YOU want to try and punch through?
Yeah, Ultron has been defeated by the Avengers again and again, but never truly destroyed.
They themselves have re-built him, albeit unwittingly.
Lets take that parable and learn from it. It may take a miracle to save us - in fact, it does.
And that's where we call on Jesus.
And read His Words - again and again.