As the last of the credits roll past, the lights flicker on, dimly revealing the two hundred other people in the auditorium as they slowly get up and stretch. Some start chatting immediately, intruding upon the precious stillness; others file silently through four exits appropriately marked by glowing red light. What is going through your mind? Is it the magic, the valiant heroes, or the grandeur of medieval pageantry? What do you feel? Is it tense excitement, oscillating nostalgia, or something else which you can’t quite put your finger on? Fantasy leaves people with a sense of longing for something greater. Young people are affected, true, but so also are many adults who enjoy being able to escape from the pressures of the “real world” for a few hours.
“Lord of the Rings”, “Narnia”, “Wheel of Time”… the list goes on. Fantasy, whether written or on the screen has an uncanny ability to reach down into the very depths of the human psyche; it draws us irresistibly in. We love the grand scale upon which events take place and the hero who rises from insignificance to majestic splendor.
Have you ever realized that we actually do live in a fantasy world? When we open our eyes in faith to what Divine Revelation has revealed, life begins to take on grandiose dimensions.
Supernatural powers are at work in our world. However, in place of the vague magic of literature, we find the omnipotence of God. Magical creatures surround us, but in place of a few grotesque animals, the real world claims myriads of angels and hosts of demons.
Every fantasy has a good outline. Have you ever read the one about the king who was born in a cowshed, who won the affection of his whole people and who after losing their fickle affection in the course of a night, died in their stead in order to pay a debt which was owed to an enemy? The story goes on to say that the king came back to life, conquered seemingly insurmountable odds, and then promised his faithful subjects eternal life in a cosmic kingdom which lasts forever.
Perhaps we too often read the gospel as a nursery rhyme or as a history textbook instead of taking it for what it really is.
The best part about Gospel Fantasy is that it is real. When we enter into it, it is not just to escape from the “real world” for a few hours. It is the real world. This story is one that continues; it is one in which we can partake in the adventure. The next time you read the Gospel don’t be one of those who intrude upon the precious silence, nor be one of those who silently file out the appropriately marked exits. Don’t leave; rather make it your life.