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When the movie Shazam taught me a thing or two about Christian Life!

Well, as anyone can guess, use your power for good and you are a hero. Use your power for bad and you are a villain. Now we all would prefer to see power as authority over others or even the ability to take the final call on any matter.

When the movie Shazam taught me a thing or two about Christian Life!

By Fabian Antony Kurisingal
I have always been a big fan of Superhero movies, be it the Marvel Universe or the DC Universe.

If you are a basic follower of the Hollywood comic literature you would remember the names of all those superheroes who have the ability to obliterate the entire world at the blink of an eye. The imagination of the creators of these cartoons are amazing and they have been successful in making an entire generation believe in truth, justice, kindness, mercy and compassion.

When I watched the movie Shazam, something clicked at the back of my mind. There were a lot of things that I could relate to. Subtle hints of lessons on the good things that can be achieved no matter how unworthy you consider yourself.

1. It’s not your power that defines you, but how you use it: If you have seen the movie (which has obviously happened by now) you would know very well that the protagonist of the movie Billy Batson was probably the most unworthy among all those who could be chosen to be the champion. But, as fate may have it he became Shazam and the mischievous guy at the beginning of the movie becomes an amazing superhero in the end.

Well, as anyone can guess, use your power for good and you are a hero. Use your power for bad and you are a villain. Now we all would prefer to see power as authority over others or even the ability to take the final call on any matter.

But how much are you willing to see within yourself and understand the limitless amount of “power” that has been bestowed to you? We are all born to be heroes in the story of our lives. Despite all our weaknesses, we have been blessed with the amazing strength to be a better version of ourselves day in and day out. As written in the book of Zechariah (13:9)  “I will refine them like silver and test them like gold” trials and tribulations are only means designed by the omniscient God to test us out and help us understand that we are beyond any man's judgement.

If you were to look around you would easily see that there are several instances where people have proven themselves beyond the limits that were assigned to them by men.

2. Forget the end result and make your journey a blessing for everyone: Some of the funniest scenes in the movie Shazam comes when Billy Batson discovers his strength. All kinds of mischiefs done by a 14-year-old teenager can be seen in the movie. But at every instance, the young teenager makes the lives of all those around him a blessing. It reminded me of a story:

Once upon a time in a village far away there was a sage. He had many disciples. The time had come when he had to pass on his responsibilities to his chosen disciple and retire. As a final test, the sage decided to go to the nearby mountains and he advised his disciples: “After a week you must come to me. The final test shall be at the mountain.” All the disciples were worried as to what the test would be, whether it would be a quiz, a duel or some kind of a challenge.

After a week all the disciples went to the mountain. All of them were worried and could not be at peace as they had many questions going through their mind.



Once they reached the mountain top the sage came out of his cave where he was meditating and asked the disciples: “What did you see on the way here?”

The disciples were shocked. They were all so much preoccupied with their fate at the destination that they didn’t see or appreciate the good things around them. Then one disciple answered from the rear end of the crowd: “Master, I heard the birds chirp, the farmers talk about the pleasant weather, the women thanking God for good fruits in the fields, I could smell the scent of fresh flowers and feel the cool mountain air.”

The sage smiled and as all the disciples looked to see who it was, they realized that the disciple who answered the question was a blind man who was taken in by the sage.

The story is a simple example of each of us. We have all been trained to observe the many things around us and we all certainly do a great job at it. We have all been so well trained that we are bothered about what are we going to see at the end of our journey. Each day and each moment can be turned into an amazing process of self-discovery. If you look closely, you are always part of something bigger – a family, a community, a society, a district, a state, a nation. If you were to look even more closely it all boils down to humanity – the key ethos of the Christian life.

3. Envy – The silent killer: One of the last scenes in the movie shows Envy as the person plotting the whole evil scheme and pulling the strings hidden behind the antagonist. Despite what different schools of thought would say – I was convinced that envy was the most silent yet deadly villain of all time.

If we were to take the Bible, for example, the first instance of disobedience came out of envy – Adam & Eve. The temptation was so strong that they wanted to be like God – omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. Even the first murder mentioned in the Bible came out of envy – Cain and Abel.

Envy is silent and works like the Kings loyal minister. Except in our case, the counsel given by the minister is that of wickedness and treachery. Envy has a way of working you into doing things the worst possible way. It works like a catalyst firing up all the other mortal sins. For instance, when you see someone living a seemingly perfect life, envy kicks in.

It tells us that life is unfair, that opportunities are being given to those less capable than us. It then proceeds to show us the joy that another person is having, without allowing us to see the realities behind it.

It triggers our pride that “someone worthless and half-witted” as that should not deserve the life that he/she is living. Now Pride is the strongest of all the other mortal sins. Pride, in turn, pulls out Greed to say “All these should only be mine” and wrath, in turn, throws a complete fit of anger and vengeance. Once you go under the influence of the great four of the mortal sins the remaining three gluttony, sloth and lust take their turn in pushing you away from the amazing person that you could become.

4. Agape - the Christian Spirit: The movie ends with an amazing scene where the power owned by Billy Batson is shared among all the other kids that are with him. This, in turn, creates an amazing team of heroes who can set right what is wrong.

This is essentially what we are all called to do. Share the knowledge, goodness, talents that we have to help others rise to their full potential. The sad reality of today's world is that every act of kindness is covered with an innate desire to receive something in return. Even in simple actions, the desire to dominate takes the upper hand than the desire to support one another. Envy and its companions cannot survive the peace and tranquillity that Agape can offer.

The Christian Spirit of sharing should that be of “Agape”. It simply means "the highest form of love, charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God". It requires a vast amount of effort to find this love and the ones who did it are known and venerated today as Saints. Love to be beyond emotions, judgement, limitations, pretensions and pretexts – is a challenge in itself.

We have all been called to be heroes. Champions for the cause of His Love – “Agape”.

Let us discover our true potential and calling, live a life where the journey matters more than the destination and be the bearers of “Agape” that irks Envy and all of its friends.

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