In regards to OB1-K’s post on Wednesday about the “I am Legend”-type virus attacking the PA contributors, I thought I would republish these thoughts that I wrote about the 2007 movie on my facebook page a little more than a year ago.  Hopefully this will garner some discussion:

If you haven’t seen the newly released movie “I am Legend”, stop reading now, grab a friend, and go see it.

But if you have seen it, please feel free to continue reading.

I’ve found that no matter how many times I watch a movie, there is always something new that I’ll catch while watching it again. This was again true for me last week in my second viewing of the aforementioned movie.

Rather than rehashing the plot (which you should already know if you followed my instructions above…), I will get right to the point:

Whether it was intentional by the film makers or not, one can see profound Christian symbolism in the climax of this movie.

Observation 1:

Near the end of the movie we find Will Smith’s character (Robert Neville) and two other uninfected survivors (Anna and Ethan) locked behind the glass doors of his laboratory during the “Night Seekers” final attack. As the mutated humans tried to break down the glass with the goal of devouring the three people, Neville attempted to explain to them (the attacking mutants) that he had found a cure for their virus that would return them to full health.

In this sense, Neville–who really did have in his possession a cure for the infected people–is the Christ figure. He seeks to save the lost (those infected with the KV virus), but rather than accept him for the “savior” that he was, the mutated humans still sought to destroy him. Jesus came with the cure for all of mankind’s sin and the desire that no one be lost, but He was rejected and crucified by the very ones He came to save. Just as the virally infected mutants in the movie could not comprehend the life-giving cure that was right in front of them, neither could the Jewish priests or Roman authorities in 1st Century Palestine comprehend the life-giving cure that was Christ. Neville’s realization that the mutants did not understand their irrational actions is reminiscent of Christ’s prayer for the people crucifying Him in Luke 23: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Both the mutants and the 1st Century Romans and Jews sought to destroy the very one who could save them.

As the movie ends without knowing how the cure is given to the infected people, one may assume that, given the mutants irrational and self-destructive behavior, the vaccine would not have been distributed on a “voluntary basis”. This is a reflection of how, left to our own reasoning and choice, we as sinful humans could not and would not “choose Christ”. It is Christ who instead chooses us; Christ who sanctifies us; Christ who makes us His own. The mutants couldn’t choose to be healed and neither can we.

Observation 2:

It was evident to the three uninfected survivors, that the glass protecting them was about to break due to the mutants forceful blows. After he realized that one of his vaccinations was effective on the “test patient”, Neville filled a test tube with her blood and gave it to Anna and Ethan to pass on to other survivors. But in order for them to survive and escape with the vaccine, it was necessary to kill the attacking mutants who would stop at nothing to get to them. So after hiding Anna and Ethan, Neville took a grenade and blew it up when the mutants broke through.

In order to save Anna, Ethan, and the virus’ cure, Neville gave up his own life. If he had not done so, the mutants surely would have killed all three of them, and the cure would have been lost. Without Neville’s vaccine there was no hope for curing the rest of those who had been infected by the virus.

Scripture says that all of mankind is dead in sin. In Romans, St. Paul wrote that the wages of sin is death. If the punishment for our sins is death and eternal separation from God, what hope do we have?

We have the hope that is God’s own Son, Jesus Christ.

All of humanity is lost and condemned in its sins, but Christ came and lived the perfect life we could not live and suffered the punishment of death that we deserved so that we may be saved. As Neville died to defend the cure for all the sick mutants, Jesus died to give the cure to all humans sick with sin: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Observation 3:

The cure for the mutants’ sickness—the KV virus—was in the blood of Robert Neville’s test patient.

The cure for mankind’s sickness—sin—is in the blood of God’s crucified and risen Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

What a wonderful parallel! In both instances the saving power for those who are “lost” is found in blood. The blood of the test patient had the power to restore all the mutants to their full human form. The blood of Christ has the power to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil—and it does!

As I noted earlier, it isn’t disclosed how the vaccine contained in the test patient’s blood would be distributed to the infected mutants. However, we do know how the cure found in the life-giving blood of Christ is distributed: the Sacraments of the Church.

We put on Christ and are washed by His blood in the water and Word of Holy Baptism.

We receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation when we eat and drink the body and blood of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

+ + +

“I am Legend” is a good movie to watch. The plot is unique, the storyline is exciting, and there is a happy ending. But in the end, “Legend”, is just another movie that was made to entertain us. In the big picture, it has no redeeming value; it will not provide comfort nor assurance in anything—it is just a movie.

But the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so much more than a movie. In His Gospel we have the comfort of God’s grace and the assurance of His mercy. All of our sins ever committed—past, present, and future—have been forgiven and forgotten. The blood of Christ has paid for our sins in full and we have no punishment to fear. Through Christ’s death and resurrection there is no barrier between us and the God who made us.

If you have seen or will see the movie “I am Legend”, think about the Christian symbolism that is in it. And during this Christmas season, think about the reason why Jesus came to be born into this world:

“an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’” Matthew 1:21-22

Man, I was starting to think Planet Augsburg had been attacked by some sort of viral cancer that turned everyone into bloodsucking vampires who did not like to blog – I saw “I am Legend” a few days ago.

Good to see everyone up and at ’em.

Anybody you know?

Anybody you know?

From TheGuardian.co.uk

“A statue of the crucifixion has been taken down from its perch on a church in Sussex because it was scaring local children and deterring worshippers, a vicar admitted today.

“The Rev Ewen Souter, the vicar at St John’s Church in Horsham, West Sussex, ordered the removal of the 10-foot sculpture of Jesus on the cross just before Christmas, branding it “unsuitable” and “a horrifying depiction of pain and suffering”.

“The 10ft resin sculpture, by Edward Bainbridge Copnall, a former president of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, will be replaced by a more “uplifting” stainless steel cross – to the dismay of more traditional parishioners.”

In my church we parade the crucifix up and down the aisle, with all eyes fixed on it. I imagine that running through everybody’s mind is “Thank God that’s not me.”

Well, I know I haven’t posted anything in what appears to be years, but I hope this will make up for my blunder.

Beer alone

Beer alone

Many brothers say, ‘surely you think that I contributed something to my conversion.’ And the answer is ‘Sure: Darkness of mind, weakness and boundness of will, hatred of God, sin in thought, word and deed. You made all sorts of contributions to this deal.  — Dr. Rod Rosenbladt

You’ve got to love Dr. Rosenbladt. Beyond any other, he sounds like the archetype of all Lutherans. Why him more than my pastor or Todd Wilken or even President “not your grandfather’s church” Kieschnick? Because whenever he speaks, he’s very earnest. And whenever he speaks, he sounds like he’s had a couple of beers. And there’s nothing more Lutheran than earnestly talking theology over beer.

Compare his voice and his message to John MacArthur, one of the great evangelical preachers, and you can instantly understand the difference between Lutherans and Evangelicals. Both MacArthur and Rosenbladt know the fundamental truth that all things necessary for salvation have been done by Jesus. The difference is in the response. MacArthur sees this as a stepping off point to sanctifying action – “this is how we are to live” and so on. Rosenbladt and we Lutherans relax and wallow in what a marvelous thing Christ has done and let the Holy Spirit  do the work of sanctification. Lutherans are the most mellow of Christians because there is no goad of uncertainty driving us on.

Compare his message to Joel Osteen’s and what do you find? You find that Lutherans know that we can’t improve our relationship with God, only Jesus can do that. And we know that it’s all been taken care of for us. The Osteenians don’t have such position or such certainty. It’s the Lutherans who have a better life now.

On Issues, Etc., Dr. Rosenbladt is doing a series on the solas – the reformation “alones” that we acknowledge are critical for understanding salvation. Excellent theology, and entertaining listens. Highly recommended. The first two are listed here:

Grace alone

Christ alone

White Winter Hymn by Fleet Foxes Enjoy!

Let us know what you think…..

This description of the “Interfaith (worship?) service” would be positively hilarious if it weren’t so sad. From M.Z. Hemingway at NRO:

Interfaith worship services usually follow a Judeo-Christian liturgy but with the insertion of other Scriptures and clergy. So instead of a procession of clergy behind, say, a crucifix, the clergy were led by four Native Americans beating drums.

Rather than a reading from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament, and a Gospel — as you would hear in a liturgical Christian service — there were readings from the Torah, the Sutra Nipata, the Koran, and more from the Old Testament. No New Testament. It is unsurprising that no reading contained a claim of exclusivity or, for that matter, any claim that adherents of a different religion would disagree with. Rather than using proper names to refer to prophets or deities, clergy tend to overload on pronouns and non-descript names. “Lord,” rather than “Jesus.” “The God of Leviticus” becomes “Holy One of Blessing.”

Huge screens displayed the gathering’s logo — vaguely reminiscent of Luther’s Rose. The multilayered mandala incorporated sunbursts and geometric shapes. Throughout the liturgy, the layers were unpeeled to show a candle, a dove, the Statue of Liberty, and the earth.

Now, I am not going to take this opportunity to bash Democrats (surprising, I know) most especially because Republicans can be just as ridiculous in trying to contrive ways to mix faith and politics.

But, look at what a farce this is. This is what being “spiritual” has come to mean in America in 2008.

It’s like a Frankenstein Monster of a worship service. If only we put all these pieces together, then we will create new life. But, just like Frankenstein, we end up creating a monster.

I can just hear Screwtape cackling with excitement over such a festival.

To add more to it, in the middle of the “service,” several protesters stood up and shouted: “Obama supports the murder of children by abortion.” They were all soundly booed and escorted out by police.

What an abomination!