Updated: Oct 12, 2018
Ever notice that children’s stories are full of good folks and evil ones? Ever notice that childhood fairy tales have similar pictures?
· Damsel in distress
· Wicked someone who wants to imprison said Damsel
· Tormented citizenry
· Prince arrives rescuing said Damsel, marries her and restores the kingdom to light, life and liberty
To be honest, I never noticed this growing up or even as a grown up. They were fairy tales and beautiful romance stories which made most girls I knew want their Knight in Shining Armor to come rescue them. Then, I took a course from Dr. John Warwick Montgomery on Apologetics. His book “Myth, Allegory and Gospel is where this idea is further developed and as it states on the back , “Five…scholars all, have found orthodox Christianity embedded in the writings of the fantastic four: Chesterton, Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams.” (available here: https://shop.1517.org/products/myth-allegory-and-gospel-an-interpretation-of-jrr-tolkien-cs-lewis-gk-chesterton-charles-williams)
Though I don’t remember the exact lesson I do remember him saying this (and I’m paraphrasing): Fairy Tales tell an aspect of the Gospel. Whoa! What? The gospel is in stories by regular men? I was taught we only found the good news in the Bible? What was this new idea?
The Gospel in Literature
Actually it is not a new idea. C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien and others have used stories and adventures as ways to proclaim the gospel to the world. About a decade ago the Narnia series went onto the big screen and Christians recognized in Aslan a type of Christ; rescuing Narnia from the Ice Queen where it was “always winter but never Christmas…” Then The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings hit the theatres and Christians again recognized that here were glimpses of that battle between good and evil and finalized with “The Return of the King” of which we Christians still await for Jesus the King of kings to return.
The Gospel in Dance
This was on my mind recently as I’ve been preparing to attend the Apologetics Academy next year and re-reading books and listening to lectures by Dr. Montgomery again. So, perhaps my mind was keen on what I was going to watch one night on TV. My husband and I enjoy talent shows. We love to watch various people sing, dance, tell jokes and perform feats I would never think of doing. One night we were watching a group dance and I said to Bobby, Look! It’s a dance about the Fall. See? There’s Adam and Eve. The apple. The tree getting twisted as it hands Eve the forbidden fruit. Look there, all the other dancers are in costumes that look like bones.
Take time to watch this here: https://youtu.be/RQYjVpmzWe4
Then we noticed three dancers in white flowing through the ones in dark, grey boned outfits and then they were trying to drag the girls in white into their melee. To me it looked like death trying to swallow up life when suddenly…BOOM! Light in the center of the stage and up rises a man in pure white, with the lighting on him and wings spread out. Immediately the three girls formed a triangle, one being held in his arms and the other two leaning on his leg.
Wow! Here was the Light of Life, in a Trinitarian form (three in a triangle) and all the ones in grey and bones dropped motionless to the floor.
Well, how do you like that!? The biblical, scratch that, the historical event of the Fall being told in dance. Here, millions were watching and seeing the story of victory over the Fall and death’s sway, conquered and destroyed. Bobby and I sat wondering if the judges would notice…well notice they did. They discussed how beautiful a version of the story of Adam and Eve it was and brilliant. I had to agree it was done brilliantly.
Now, I don’t know if that dance troop were Christian or not, but what Dr. Montgomery taught is applies here: The Gospel is often told in stories. I’d like to think we can see it in dance as well.
So, how often do you consciously look for the Gospel being proclaimed in an unexpected way? Do we, as believers, sharpen our skills at recognizing this? Are we proactive in seeing these glimpses of the Gospel story in the books we read, the music we listen to, the arts we enjoy?
Speaking of music, I’ll share this hint of the Gospel I found.
Two years ago I received the call no daughter wants; Mom passed away this morning. You need to come home for the funeral. We knew it was coming as she suffered from Stage 4 brain cancer but it was still hard. That very day I heard a song on the radio, “When I get to where I’m going…” It had me in tears. The song (which I’ll link at the end) is a man sharing how he misses his grand daddy and he pictures when he gets there he’ll ride a drop of rain, etc. It’s a song that pulls on your heart. The first two verses are pretty much imagination. Then the third and final verse comes out with gospel:
…I will shed the sins and sorrows I have carried for all these years…
So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can’t answer
So much work to do
But when I get to where I’m going
And I see my Maker’s Face
I’ll stand forever in the light
Of His Amazing Grace Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will love and have no fear… Here is a clear reference to sin which he labels pain and darkness and yet, the true hope, even though he wants to see his grand-daddy, is to see His Maker’s Face. Here we have a remarkable mention that we have been created, we are not the “captains of our fate”, we are reliant upon our Maker. What then does he celebrate? That he will stand in the light of amazing grace. Not on the “work to do” but on grace in heaven where the Bible says all sorrow and tears will be wiped away and where we will dwell in perfect love no longer fearing death for it will be swallowed up in life.
I have to share that this song, on our long 3 day drive to NY, was one I played over and over and gained comfort. Odd, aye, that a country song filled me with comfort. Yet it did! To this day when this song plays on the radio, my eyes still fill up with tears when I think of that day that I will see my Maker’s face and stand before Him because of His Amazing Grace.
Opportunities to share the gospel are all around us if we would but listen and watch. Your neighbors, friends, family and co-workers are living in the world with so much pain and darkness and you have been given the honor, the joy of sharing the One who brings us out of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. I’m not saying these glimpses are perfect but they are stepping off points that we can use to bring up the Gospel and then bring them to the Scriptures for a the best view of His Amazing Grace and perhaps, when they get to where they’re going, they too will stand forever in the light of His Amazing Grace in Christ Jesus.