In the worship service last Sunday we had some fun talking about literature’s vampire character type. Rarely do vampires wear capes and suck your blood. It’s your diminishment that satisfies their hunger. Preparing for that sermon reminded me that when I was young there were only three scary monsters. Frankenstein, Dracula, and Wolfman. Frankenstein was the scariest. Wolfman was the least scary. I know that I’ve left out the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but I didn’t live near any lagoons so he was no concern to me. But Frankenstein, Dracula, or Wolfman could break down the door, fly through an open window, or come snarling out of the woods at any time.

All three of these monsters date back to the early 1800’s and their stories have been told and retold with updates to this day. These fictional monsters enjoy literary longevity because they are such rich metaphors. Frankenstein is much more than a monster sewn together from dead body parts. The monster shares the name of his creator. Dr. Frankenstein creates his own monster. The monster represents problems of our own creation which become too much to control and threaten to be our undoing. The list of self-created monsters is long and includes things like worrying, trying to impress others, people pleasing etc.…. When these monsters escape from the dungeon they do great harm to us before we can get them back in their chains. To these kinds of self-made monsters, Jesus said things like, “… do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.” (Matthew 6:1). “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37).

Dracula represents those seductive types who thrive on the demise of others. We talked about that in Sunday’s sermon, which is available on the website. Scripture’s advice for those who are being lured into ruin by the vampire type is to, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

The Wolfman is the metaphor of the individual’s inner struggle with sin. The humble Lawrence Talbot loses control of himself when the moon is full. By the light of the moon, sin’s unrestrained ferocity transfigures him into the wolfman. When that happens he is helpless to control himself. After the moon goes down Lawrence Talbot’s regret sound a lot like the Apostle Paul. “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15). We’re all capable of howling at the moon now and then, and don’t we regret it after we come to our senses.

Our self-created monsters, the lure of the vampire, and sin’s excess, can try to break down our door, fly through an open window, or come snarling out of the woods at any time. But, the good news of the gospel is that the Godman, Jesus, fully human and fully God at the same time, has overcome them all. “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)