The third, and final, installment of At The Movies from North Ridge took on one of the most iconic underdog stories of redemption Hollywood has ever adapted to the big screen; Robin Hood (the newest rendition, starring Russell Crowe is my personal favorite).
Everyone loves to see the underdog win. We want to see justice served, oppressors get their due and the oppressed overcome. This story has survived for centuries by touching a part of our soul and inspiring us to become something better than we presently are. What’s interesting is that Robin Hood is not far off from the gospel and the life of Jesus. Robin Hood has merry men, Jesus had a circle of twelve disciples. Robin Hood and his band set out to defend the poor from an oppressive government and balance the scales of their society, Jesus and the disciples set out on a mission to free people from Satan’s oppression and release them from the chains of sin. Both branded as outlaws by the leaders of their own nation.
So, what should we be inspired to do through this? Should we shoot flaming arrows at the Capital building and construct a catapult to hurl large stones at the Pentagon? Certainly not! (although building a catapult would be really cool) We looked at this story through the filter of Isaiah 1:15-20 to find our answer. In this passage, God is telling Israel what’s up through the prophet Isaiah. Israel had cycled back to the point in their relationship with God where they lived however they wanted, thinking an occasional prayer or burnt offering was enough to satisfy their creator. Their lifestyles did not line up with their dogma. Once again, God lays out specific instructions for Israel; willingly obey His commands and live or resist and rebel and be devoured (v.19-20). Our fallen world and individual brokenness makes this harder than it should be. Add religious opinions and ideals that divide Christians from each other and obedience is much easier said than done.
The central focus of the image I drew is a simple sphere, no detail, just a shaded ball. By mimicking Earth, this sphere represents all of creation. Picturing an orange being peeled, the surface layer of the sphere is peeled back; torn from the surface it was originally attached to. Within the torn peelings, smaller images shed light on their symbolism. Moving from left to right, the first section shows two hands grasping each other, as if someone were being pulled to safety; this represents grace. The second section includes a box of food to represent charity. The third, two hands clasped together in prayer, the catalyst to our relationship with God. The fourth section includes several images to represent justice and the law, a scale, a gavel, and a raised book. Each of these are icons depicting important aspects of Christianity; grace and mercy, charity, relationship, and justice. Our rebellion caused the unravelling of creation, disconnecting the surface from the body of the sphere and tearing the sections away from each other. The right hand of Christ at the top of the page supports the broken surface by a line connecting the broken sections to each finger. Creation hangs within the balance of these characteristics of God, supported by His hand. It is only through balance that stability is maintained; mercy must also include justice, relationship with God exists through relationship with His creation. Too much emphasis on any one characteristic creates a disproportionate balance, allowing the sphere (creation) to fall through the cracks to destruction.
The message we should take away from Robin Hood as it pertains to the gospel is the example of unity. Through unity, Nottingham rose up against their oppressors. We too can conquer our spiritual oppressor, by letting go of our prideful desire for being ‘right’ and allowing ourselves to be united by Jesus.
Lastly, Christ’s hand is openly extended, inviting the viewer to take hold of it. Eventually, His hand will close and time to accept the invitation will expire. The fingers closing will pull each section of the torn surface back into position over the sphere of creation. Christ will claim His bride and, through that redemption, the church will be perfectly unified.