Here in the swelter of August, it’s become a pop-culture tradition to enjoy a little thing called the summer blockbuster. Every year, the movie industry churns out a barrage of high-voltage, star-studded offerings to capture the vacation market. It’s almost de rigueur to gather up your girlfriends or better yet, a hot date, sit back with a big bucket of popcorn and let the whole experience detonate around you. Living vicariously through the intense exploits of secret agents, beautiful locales and high-powered vehicles is an adrenaline-charged rush that just doesn’t get old. For an exhilarating moment, we blithely run with the rich and famous, and it somehow gets deliciously amplified if you enjoy it all in the midsummer heat.
The word ‘Blockbuster’ itself is not only graphically colorful, it has literally taken on a life of its own. Intriguingly, it was first coined back in the 1940’s as a military term, describing an explosive with a payload capable of taking out a whole city block. However, its imagery was quickly commandeered by media advertisers to mean something large, exciting, impactful and capable of bringing rapid change. Entertainment industry marketers gleefully seized it to create hype for their latest high-budget productions; a fitting use for a word that promised a stellar box office offering, but could just as easily fizz into a disappointing bomb. Today, when we say blockbuster, we’re describing a high-octane action adventure showcasing A-list stars, outrageous stunts and the most advanced special effects, complete, of course, with a satisfying, heroic resolution.
It’s a thrill to jump on these vivid mental roller-coaster rides of the imagination, safe in the knowledge that the rabid visual stimulation will eventually come to a standstill and allow us to debark safely intact. Our imagination…our mind’s eye, is so incredibly powerful a faculty we don’t begin to comprehend it. That’s why books or movies are so pleasurable and influential; they invigorate this precious gift. It’s part of our visionary arsenal to be able to see beyond the constraints of a natural realm into the vast, uncharted territory of the supernatural. The truth is that we secretly (or not so secretly) crave stimulation, change, challenge, chance; even the Russian roulette of serious jeopardy. Some innately wild, undomesticated part of us is utterly contemptuous of too much predictability. Why are we so enthralled by these larger-than-life offerings? The truth is, we were born for them.
The disciples experienced such a moment on the Mount of Transfiguration. They were just getting to the point of familiarity – with following a powerful leader, with working as a team, with understanding who the Messiah really was. They were just able to achieve a degree of comfort with what must have been radical living for their day, when the carpenter/fisherman/prophet Jesus morphed right before their very eyes.
…Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light.
…a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”
When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. “Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 17:1-2, 5-6 Message
Without warning, their best friend and mentor stepped out of his homespun garments and into His kingly robes. The Son of Man ascended to the Son of God. As the glory showered down, prophets of old appeared and the voice of the Father flooded the mountain with fearsome power. Time and place fell away. These good ole’ boys were suddenly way out of their league. We can only imagine the awe that transfixed them; a day etched upon their very being. It was a blockbuster! That day foretold a confirmation not only of Jesus’ glorification, but our own. Despite all the “double, double toil and trouble”, slavery, sackcloth and ashes, in a moment, a lightning strike will take us back to true identity. Though hidden, that very metamorphosis is in motion right now.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory… 1 Corinthians 4:7,10,17 KJV
Perhaps one of the reasons we so enjoy the blockbuster is because we don’t identify ourselves as special or superhero. Very few of us feel like A-list anything. That’s where we’re wrong. This very moment, through the Kingdom of God, we’re strolling right into eternity, defying the odds, rescuing the distressed, defeating the villains and taking the spoil. It may not seem like it, but all the special effects, the death-defying stunts and the rich rewards lie within these little skin bags of water and chemicals we call our bodies.
So far, I have to admit, this summer of 2018, all the thrills have been on screen. June and July have been drab monotony dominated by health issues, pressure deadlines and sequestered working…a feeling of being cut off from anything remotely resembling the extraordinary. However, I refuse to be fazed by the doldrums, because I recognize this particular quality of stillness. It’s the calm before the rapid storming when the Lord dominates everything with His sudden appearance, just like on the mountain. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it” is to trust, when all seems futile, in the divine energy simmering below the surface. By faith, tap into the dynamo. Marquee moments are still to be had. The summer is built for blockbuster breakthroughs; even world prophets know that! Wait for it, because nobody does epic quite like the Almighty.