Epic Theology

Finding God through the lens of an artist



Themes of Advent: Hope

Hey folks,

Tomorrow starts the first weekend of Advent. For those unfamiliar with the tradition, Advent is a season of anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ. Just as we prepare to celebrate the Incarnation, the birth of baby Jesus, on Christmas, so we also turn our hearts, minds, and spirits towards His Second Coming. We look back in remembrance and forward in hope. Each of the four weeks leading up to Christmas carries a different theme, and today we’re going to look at the first one: Hope.

Sometimes, life is amazing. Your family is loving and without lasting conflict. Work is firing on all cylinders and progress is made all over the place. All your favourite movies are on Netflix. You can feel the blessings flowing like a gentle waterfall, and you are content.

But other times, life is hard. Borderline impossible. Health crises. Unemployment and underemployment. Broken relationships, broken hearts, broken lives. This can be even tougher as the Christmas season rolls around, when the rest of the world is celebrating their “perfect lives,” and you can barely get out of bed in the morning. Or the afternoon. Or at all.

It’s like walking in darkness. A darkness so deep that it can feel like light doesn’t exist. Like everything you have is dust and life is meaningless at best.

It’s into this that God speaks:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
-Isaiah 9:2, 6-7


A great light has come into the world, and His name is Jesus. Every time we light a candle, or string out houses with lights, or plug in the Christmas tree, we declare to the darkness, “Light has come!” When the darkness threatens to overtake us, we shine with whatever we have and remember that the darkness is not forever. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5).

Just as God brought hope to the nation of Israel with the promise of a Messiah, we have hope that the Messiah, the King of Kings, will return and will bring an end to all of the pain and suffering and brokenness.

For those who follow Christ, we are called to be messengers of this Hope that Jesus came to bring. In word and in action, I challenge you to bring hope to those around you this week. An encouraging note, a friendly conversation, or an unexpected gift can be exactly what someone needs to get through the day. The thought that someone cares can bring enough hope to carry someone forward.

So, during this Advent week of Hope, how are you going to celebrate and share the gift of Hope? 


Of Gods and Games: Destiny

I realize I’m a little late to this game. Destiny, for those not in the know, was created by the company that spawned the incredibly popular Halo series. It came out in September, 2014, but I just got around to playing it (thanks to the generosity of my sister-in-law’s boyfriend) a few weeks ago. I’ve only played for a few hours, but I’ve already noticed some story elements that seem awfully similar to a bigger story I’ve been talking about here on EpicTheology.Destiny's_Ghost

Now, if you haven’t played the game, don’t worry. The info I’m sharing comes from very early in the game, so it’s not really spoilers. It’s more about backstory, a story I think is fascinating. Let’s delve in.

In the world of Destiny, humans of the near future stumble across an entity known as The Traveler while first exploring Mars. This semi-divine being brings humanity into a glorious age of exploration, expansion, and miraculous health. However, this Traveler is opposed by The Darkness, an evil force that wages war upon The Traveler and humanity, destroying much of what we had created. Before the game begins, the Traveler lies dormant, with the people awaiting its return.

Perhaps it’s because I look for these things, but the parallels to the story of Jesus are striking. Jesus, a divine/mortal being came to earth and proclaimed the beginning of a glorious era, the Kingdom of God. He brought healing and peace, and in His Name, humankind expanded across the world.

However, the enemy of this Christ is also waging a war upon God and His Creation. Jesus was killed by those who opposed Him, and we now await His return. As we do so, we must fight against injustice, hatred, temptation, and the forces of darkness.

The important missing link here is Jesus’ resurrection, but sine Bungie has a ten-year plan for this game, it’s not beyond imagining that the Traveler might awaken/return to fight against the Darkness.

Beyond the overarching narrative, some of the smaller details seem to have parallels with the Christian belief system. For example, just before the Traveler became dormant, it sent out pieces of itself, called Ghosts, to reawaken dead soldiers with the capability to harness Light. They serve as guides and companions for the player characters throughout the game.

In a similar fashion, Jesus and the Father, after Christ’s ascension, sent the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost…), a member of the divine Trinity, to awake those who would become part of the Kingdom of God. Those who were previously dead are brought back to life and given a mission to serve and worship the giver of all life.

In Destiny, the players fight against the Darkness for the cause of Light. Christians are called to fight against the encroaching Prince of Darkness for the one who is the True Light. While I understand many have issues with violence in video games, I believe that the underlying story in Destiny is one that we can hold up as a bridge to the faith. Those who fight against the Darkness should stand bravely together.

Have any of you played Destiny? If so, let me know if you see any more similarities that I’ve missed. If you disagree with the entire concept, chime in as well. Let’s talk about the places our story and video games collide!


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