With the backdrop of the senseless tragedy in Aurora Colorado, the constant reminders of the untimely departures for many from this life, I decided to watch the Dark Night Rises. I have to admit part of me in a weird way felt guilty for watching it, as if my participation in the theater was somehow not showing proper respect for the victims. Seeing men slaughtered by machine gun fire by the villain five minutes into the film did not assuage that uneasiness.That uneasy feeling however eventually succumbed to the greatness of the story. Nolan does an excellent job of drawing you into the world of Gotham. Gotham is a powerful city, a city that has been supposedly rehabbed its image, by cleaning up its villains locking them up in mass. The police force develop a pride, a hubris at its new found success in crime fighting only to find out that a storm has been brewing right under their eyes, the likes it has not seen in years. The city’s solution to the problem;The Dark Night, Gotham’s savior has been blamed for the evils of the past, and now with the storm coming it is only the few faithful followers who know that the city’s only hope for survival is to invoke his name that he might fight off their remaining enemies.
The power of movies, and of stories is that they can be seen as windows and commentaries to our own world. Gotham is a dark city, not to far from the fallen urban centers we live in today. Our nation like Gotham served as a beacon of light to the world; a moral, economic, and political model of success. We became prideful and ascribed our success to our own ingenuity and bravado. We began to scandalize the virtues and principles which were foundational for our prosperity, and have continued to blackball and malign anyone who claims our success was due to its savior, and indeed the savior of all creation; Jesus Christ. Today we are in the midst of a crisis; people are scared, children are parent-less, men are jobless, families are falling apart, our idol of economic superiority that brought us comfort and ease is crumbling before our eyes, our political system has proven to be corrupted by greed and tribalism, and our moral fiber has disintegrated to a rubbish heap of relativism.
There is a reason why there are crazed lunatics who kill innocent movie goers. Its called depravity. The effects of sin, in a world that refused to blush at its name. Instead the virtues of rebellion are touted as freedom from religion and superstition, freedom from the tyrant on high and his despotic son who are set to ruin all civilization. We think we are righteous in our own eyes. We don’t need a hero. We have it all under control. Meanwhile the vices of greed, sexual immorality, malice, covetousness, idolatry have been festering under the surface, only to bubble up when our fascade of prosperity was removed.
I am concerned for my country. I pray for it. Our leaders are blinded, our educational system is failing, our churches are dying. We are as divided as we were right before the civil war. We are under threat externally, but it is the internal divide that is at a boiling point. People are frustrated, and angry, like a powder keg waiting to go off, we are one large failure setback away from rioting and internal chaos.
What is the solution to this? The gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike the Dark Night, however, Jesus knows what is going on, he has defeated his enemies and is aware of all their workings; he is in total control. He has done his work, he has given his gift of salvation, It is available to all those who call on him. He is coming back again to set up and remake our world. That is the hope of all those who trust in him. It is the hope he offers all cities under the grip of sin, the weapon of the ruler of the world; who is the greatest despot of all.
There’s a scene in the movie where all those who try to fight against the villain Baine and stand up for truth; the righteous, are killed. This has been true throughout the history of the church, and disturbingly may be something we see in our own country within time. I want to encourage my brothers and sisters in the faith, to open our eyes and like Jude said contend for the faith which was once and for all delivered unto us. Let us pray for our friends and family who are blind to the beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ, and labor in proclaiming that there is only one savior, one name by which all men can be saved and that is the glorious name of Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory, honor, and power. Amen.
There are many who may not see the Dark Night Rises, and many who will see it two to three times. Personally I enjoyed the movie. I believe Nolan did an excellent job in re-creating the world of Gotham, of telling the story of a lost city in need of its savior. The movie was obviously more layered than that, but regardless of whether one goes or not, I think it is always helpful for us believers to recognize that the fascination for super hero movies is really just the drive to know deeper the super hero that truly lives; Jesus.