One of the latest Marvel Comics movies The Black Panther is about a mythical nation called Wakanda in Africa. Using a combination of African tribe cultures, the creators of this movie combined superstition and advanced technology. It's message is about the power of unity and working together to make the world a better place. Oppression will not work. The super-natural is shown working in conjunction with the natural world. Interestingly, the supernatural is still not generally accepted in our world, but the world seems to have a fascination with it. Why is fantasy mixed with technological power so popular in movies today? It could be we all just like a good adventure movie that gives us some relief from our day to day pressures. We also could find it appealing because it stirs up in us something deeper. We wish we could have that kind of power to control things in our lives and in our world.
The movie industry’s appeal often misses the mark. The popular media’s version of power can be very self-serving. It is always about an impersonal power. It tends to champion using supernatural powers (or violence) over others. It is rarely about an internal moral power. The Black Panther movie does have a positive moral message. But how it uses power to change things is beyond anything we can relate to. Christians too can applaud the message of unity and cooperation. Christians too see how oppression works evil in the world. But I believe that our power is of a different kind.
The world is weary of power abuse. The world is weary of the disrespect and incivility people of different ideologies have toward one another. They need to see God working though his people, the church. I believe that people need a demonstration of God before they will ever be open to an explanation of God. Christians believe in power beyond themselves. But is it very different than what we hear in the movies. And it always involves an internal change.
The Apostle Peter explained what was necessary to respond to God’s Spirit. He said, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Acts 2:38-39.
In the book of Acts God’s power was released and created the beginnings of the church. The presence of God was being poured out into the very hearts of people. No longer was this an external set of rules that people had to conform to. It was the will of God, the desire of God, places within people. It was the personal power of the Holy Spirit. But Peter did call people to repent of sin and turn to God: repenting of thinking we have the power to change is the first step in the right direction. repenting of wanting a power we control. We need to repent of attempting to solve human problems with human means.
Without the power of the Holy Spirit things will not change. Without an internal change, the goodness of God will not be seen through our lives. The good news is that God is willing to pour his presence out on anyone willing to receive the Sprit. God is not holding back himself from any people. Jesus comes into our lives and brings the peace of God by the Spirit into our souls. When the Spirit is being poured out, boundaries and prejudices and broken and people are filled with the goodness of God.
Could it be that the Spirit of God is saying that the people of God need to show a demonstration of God's love before any explanation will be heard?? Could it be that the love that the Spirit of God pours out in the church is ready to be poured out on the streets? I believe so. I believe the power of God demonstrated through the lives of people who are full of God's Spirit is beyond any imagined power we may think we have.