A favorite movie series for our family are the Marvel films. These characters, born from the imaginations of a creative group of men over the 40’s 50’s and 60’s writing comic books, has grown into a huge part of the entertainment industry.
Alive in my imagination as we turn the corner in Lent and begin closing in on the Passion of Christ remembered during Holy Week is the image and story line of The Hulk.
The Hulk is actually a scientist, Bruce Banner. He is like many academic people measured, patient and focused from hours of research. His character development reveals a person who appreciates complexity and the effort to truly understand. Bruce Banner is not one to grab the first idea to solve a situation. But the Hulk is the opposite. Bruce Banner grows into a large, green, powerful, giant Hulk when agitated. His capacity to reflect and reason become nearly non-existent in that state.
The Hulk is an image of our inner battles. Sometimes our thoughtful side wins and sometimes we turn into the Hulk or some version of a worst self.
Lent is an annual invitation to really appreciate the complexity of ourselves and others. When we find ourselves frustrated, agitated and impatient, Christ teaches us to recognize what is really going on. Compassion, mercy, forgiveness, grace all make us feel known. In God's outpouring love we feel honored in our complexity. Jesus taught that what is inside matters on the path of transformation. And reminds us God is with us in all of our suffering.
Whether you become the Hulk on the inside, hiding your non-rational impulsive self, or you become the Hulk on the outside, Lent is an opportunity to spend some time understanding yourself and growing in compassion.
The Letter to the Philippians reveals the strain of spiritual transformation. St Paul admits he has done well in his life and career. He lists his achievements and successes. And then says, “Yet whatever gains I had these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.”
Transformation pulls our life together into one loving spiritual path.
Press on in Lent and don’t miss the invitation to reflect on what God is inviting in your life as it is right now. Ask God to help you. Listen for God to answer.
With you on the journey,