Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The Following Takes Place Between...
And so begins another stirring episode of the frantically paced action thriller "24". Uber covert super guy, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), is the gravel voiced counter terrorism agent who saves the world each year in roughly a full day. With twists-a-plenty and trust in short supply, Bauer must navigate through the bad guys and the even badder guys on his way to a heart pounding climax where humanity is spared by the microscopic diameter of a gnat hair. And I love every stupid minute of it!
One of the great things about this show is how it packs so much important stuff into one day. I mean when was the last day the president was assasinated, weaponized biochemicals were released on the public, and the entire free world was on the brink of nuclear destruction? The Army used to claim that they did more by 9am than most people did all day. Jack Bauer could easily claim that he does more by 9am than James Bond, Rambo and the Army do all day... every day. Face it, folks, Jack Bauer is this generation's greatest action hero, and one can only hope there will be many "days" to come.
While pondering the latest episode of "24" I was struck by a suprising revelation. Most of our churches view Easter like a season of "24". We tend to look at this holiest of days like the Christian's Superbowl Sunday, but we fail to see the amazing story that leads up to the big game. Jesus wasn't some supernatural Jack Bauer who saved the world in a day. He was the God/Man who was born among us, lived in our culture, and ministered to the poor and oppressed before he ever saved the world. Instead of taking the time to really contemplate the Easter season, we tend to relegate it to a one day event marked by spiffy outfits and cheesy church dramas. We jump wildly from the incarnation to the resurrection as if Christ simply went from womb to empty tomb with no stops in between.
That's why I've decided to observe the season of Lent this year. Lent is a forty day time of sacrifice and remembrance. It marks Christ's 40 day wilderness temptation, and begs us to identify with Jesus by sacrificing objects or activities that may help us focus more deeply on the darkness that Christ endured on our behalf. I'm convinced that this observance enriches life and allows us to view Easter more as "24/7" than simply "24".