the epic: the ultimate story


“And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Look at me, quoting yet another Romantic poet . . . if nothing else, this exercise may show my true literary colors, thought I do despise the philosophical bent of the Romantics (it’s clear that I am disposed to them in my heart). Thinking and writing about the word “epic” was not a task I wanted to pursue.

I suffered through The Iliad and The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Faerie Queene, Ulysses, and (perhaps worst of all) Morte d’Arthur. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate literature (it was my major after all– though I think I could have learned all I needed to know about Arthur through some little Camelot movie . . . ); however, all of these tales are a little difficult for today’s reader.

I enjoyed light reading durning my two years of grad school– did I have time? No, but I needed a mental break! Still, looking back, my mental “breaks” consisted of:

Gone with the Wind (the double column monster of a book took me all of last Christmas break!),

the Twilight series(more to know what the kids I was working with were reading than for myself– enjoyed the story, did not enjoy that it felt like the author used a thesaurus and some of the moral tone, really appreciated the pro-life and abstinence message),

The Huger Games trilogy (which entranced me for the first two books, and left me feeling unsatisfied with the existential ending and not crazy about the lack of respect for life),

and my personal favorites: the Harry Potter series (poor Harry gets such a bad rap in Christian circles, but is really excellent in many of the messages, teachings, and the ultimate struggle of good and evil).

“I’m going to keep going until I succeed — or die. Don’t think I don’t know how this might end. I’ve known it for years.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

As I was thinking about all of these “light reads” I was realizing that all of them fit the bill of “epic.” Also many movies lately fit the bill.

Mankind really is obsessed with this epic thing!

And he ought to be. I think it reveals the subconscious understanding of man that we are all on an epic journey of our own. Of course we are supporting characters in the ultimate story. The story of Jesus Christ.

His life, His death, His resurrection. His epic Grace.

Many of us get so wound up in the tedious everyday annoyances and setbacks, but really those small things are opportunities to reflect grace.

We get so hung up on the big issues of our day that we choose to protest and complain, instead of realizing that Christians need to look no further then themselves to see the answers to the problems.

What do I mean? Well, take all of the social issues in the US. Constitutionally the government has no business in any of them, but maybe they keep putting their nose into them because the American Christians aren’t doing their job in caring for the unlovely, the poor, the needy . . .

I certainly don’t think I have all the answers, and I would not want to be seen as a critic, but I did read an article recently that I thought was a wonderful reflection of Christ.  Even though the author certainly isn’t a Christian, the actions of the Christian he speaks about shines through as a beautiful testimony of Christ.

Deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon, but I will leave you with an encouraging thought from Tullian Tchividjian’s Jesus+Nothing=Everything (such a wonderful book that I am re-reading):

So we celebrate because we know that whatever taste of sorrow and longing and incompleteness we experience now will soon be all forgotten. Jesus, out source of everything, comforts and cheers us with these words:’Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep no, for you shall laugh’ (Luke 6:21). His everything will finally and completely fill us– and so will his laughter!”



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