Wednesday, July 18th. Mark 13:24-27

“But in those days, after that suffering,

            the sun will be darkened,

            and the moon will not give its light,

            and the stars will be falling from heaven,

            and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”  Mark 13:24-27

The depth psychologist, Carl Jung, made much of the idea of “archetypes.”  Archetypes can be understood as an infinite number of basic patterns of being and behavior that lie beneath and behind the conscious level of our lives.  For Jung, life was a dance with the archetypes within and around us.  The more conscious we are of these patterns and our participation in them, the more we experience peace of mind and personal wholeness.  (Which is about all I know about the idea…)

I’m thinking of Jung’s archetypes this morning because one of them, the Hero, isn’t terribly far from the ancient Hebrew idea of the “Son of Man” coming in clouds of glory with an army of angels to open a can of divine judgment and retribution upon the earth – a mission to boldly go (Star Trek was based on archetypes) on a mission to punish the evil and rescue the righteous.

This idea is a main driver behind the prophetic visions of apocalyptic poetry.  We see it here in Mark 13.  We also see it in the apocalyptic images from Daniel 7, Ezekiel 32, Joel 2 and 3, and Isaiah 13 and 34.  We see it in the book of the Revelation.

We even see it in the character of Superman as conceived by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  These man, both Jews, knew exactly what they were doing when they named Superman’s father “Jor-El” [El a Hebrew name for God), gave Superman the name, “Kal-El” (son of god), sent him to earth to save his own life as well as save the earth, invested superhuman powers in him, and pitted him against evil in the person of Lex Luthor.  (I’m thinking here, painfully, that they might have been aware of Martin Luther’s horrible early writings against the Jews and how they were conveniently trotted out to justify the savagery of the Nazi’s.)

It is neither a stretch nor an accident that Superman looks a whole lot like Jesus.  Not as a slam against Christianity but as an archetype within our collective unconscious.

This idea of “hero” is fundamentally hopeful.  It reminds us of the darkness of life, hence the need for the heroic, but also the promise of rescue, hence the role of the hero.  But, even as Jung himself believed, as powerful as archetypes might be, they exercise their power as they become the lived reality of people.

Which means for us, and aligns here with the witness of the Bible, that our calling isn’t to sell everything and go wait on a mountaintop for the celestial fireworks to start…our calling is to join Jesus in the valley.  Down in the real world where people live in relationship with one another, where they battle with hunger and survival, sickness and health, even life and death.

Certainly we live with gratitude and hope in our Redeemer, but that only finds meaning in purpose as we live the loving lives of the redeemed.

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we live in a hope that we have shared with millions down through the ages, a hope that says that life does have purpose and meaning and that you are bringing us to a great day of completion.  We pray that this hope might lead us to engage the world rather than escape it, to stand with you in seeking health, wholeness, peace, justice, and mercy for all people.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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One Response to “Wednesday, July 18th. Mark 13:24-27”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Interesting. There is a book entitled The Myth of the Birth of the Hero. It points out heros are never raised by their parents but by surrogate parents.I think for example of Moses but when I taught it was always Superman that students named, while a few knew about the founders of Rome. Romuilus and Remus.

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