Originally scheduled for July 9
The evils of the common comic book were well
known to my mother. Like many another boy of 13 years of age, I read
them under the covers with the aid of a flashlight. My mother’s
objection was rather straightforward; she said that comic books
preyed upon the minds of 13-year-old boys who were not ready for
what was said. It’s all too easy at the age of 13 to pretend that
you are Superman. The purpose of this, of course, was to sell comic
books. The publishers knew what their audience wanted and gave it to
them. Why? To make money, of course.
Another form of making money and comic books
came at the end of each of the comics. There were a series of
advertisements — do any of you remember the magic sea monkeys you
could order by the mail? Another such advertisement came from an
Italian bodybuilder by the name of Charles Atlas. The ad was always
the same. The big bully came by and kicked sand in the face of the
90 pound weakling, and then walked off with his girl. (This doesn’t
really say very much for the girl.) But, help is at hand! For a few
bucks you could order the Charles Atlas system for bodybuilding. A
few weeks later you would be able to handle the bully quite well
(remember “love tap”?)
This raises a question for us. If Charles Atlas
and his method works so well, how is it that we are still loaded
with 90 pound weaklings? It’s pretty simple. The Charles Atlas
method is performed in three steps:
Buy the system.
Start the system.
Abandon the system.
The main reason for the last step is that there
was usually no one around to encourage the 90 pound weakling to take
the dull, boring steps of exercise. Anyone who has ever gone to a
gym knows that without a little encouragement you quickly give it
up. You usually look for another solution, but bodybuilding always
seems to involve exercise.
The Christian life has some similarity to this.
We need encouragement if we are to continue to practice
Christianity, and become better at it. For this reason Christ has
given us the church. You also need an expectation of success; if you
don’t see this getting better, you’re likely to conclude that it
doesn’t work and therefore you should look for something else. That
expectation of success is the return of Jesus Christ.
Most of all, however, we need a reminder. We
need something that connects us with God on a regular basis. That
reminder is communion. We are to remember the body and blood of our
Lord Jesus Christ which performed the atonement for our sins. By
this example and reminder we are taught the Christian life. From
this, then, go forth to the
Christian life in your regular, daily affairs. As he forgave us, we
should forgive others. We should go alongside them in their times of
trouble. And the praise of God should always be on our lips. Go; you
have been reminded of the core of the faith.