Friday, June 4, 2010

The Light in the Darkness – How Reading a Vampire Book Taught Me More about Faith - Introduction

The phases of the moon are an astronomical wonderment. From full to new and every wax and wane in between, the moon basks in different amounts of light and dark according to its position in relationship to the earth and to the sun. A full moon means that no celestial obstruction, like the earth, stands between it and the sun. The opposite, a new moon, occurs when the earth comes in between the sun and moon, prohibiting any light from the sun to reach or illuminate the moon.

In Stephanie Meyer’s second book in the Twilight Saga series, aptly titled New Moon, that’s the exact condition we find, Bella being the moon, Edward representing the sun, and Jacob serving as the earth. Many would argue that Jacob did not come between them on purpose and that Edward caused the darkness by deliberately leaving Bella, and I’d agree, in part. But even during a new moon, the sun does not cease to shine. The alignment of cosmic circumstances allows for the earth to pass between them. Though cruel on the surface, a greater good fueled the events that led to Bella’s wilderness experience.

Bella has just lived the best six months of her life, the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, in the constant arms of her Perfect Lover. The details, like what right she has to accept the undivided attentions of someone so amazing, frighten her, but she doesn’t let herself think about it. She’s soaking up the rays, basking in his presence. Her only worry is that she is getting older, and thus is impatient to become one of them, a Cullen, a vampire.

But Edward is privy to information and experiences Bella is not. He knows that becoming a vampire is a life-long sentence involving excruciating pain, eternal damnation (he believes), and a constant struggle to remain humane, or as the Cullen’s call it, a vampire vegetarian. He knows it’s no love affair, no summer fling, not even a mere honeymoon. It’s a commitment requiring colossal strength of body and mind, and sacrifice of the soul. Although she swears she’s not deciding on a whim, he resists her desire to make the change.

They are locked in a battle of the wills when the story opens.

New Moon launches Bella on a journey of faith. It’s not an easy road. And she doesn’t see it coming. But battles of faith don’t come with a calling card. The substance of faith can only be activated and proved in the heat of combat, when everything is at stake. Previous to the opening chapter of New Moon, nothing at all had been at stake in Bella’s life.

Our relationship with Our Perfect Lover, Jesus Christ, travels a similar road. When all is well and good in our world, faith is easy, a frolic almost. Commitment to our Love is proven along a long journey of trials and tribulations. We often refer to it as a wilderness experience. Within the context of such an ordeal, a heart’s staying power is what proves love is real, faith is merited, and loyalty is secure.

Why do we get mad at God when the going gets tough?

Classic example of the wilderness experience is of course the Israelite’s actual wilderness experience in… well, in the wilderness. For forty years, they had to wander in a barren desert. God had just delivered them from a tyrant who enslaved and abused them and killed their children. Yet, before they were a stone’s throw away from Egypt, they gave in to fear, complaining, anger, pride and idolatry. After the display of miracles and deliverance they’d just seen with their own eyes and experienced for themselves, they go and raise a fist at God?

It’s not a pay back situation. It’s not, God does something for us, so we do something for Him. No one is keeping accounts. The account has been closed. One side of the ledger lists all our debts, our sins. The other side, in bright red ink, reads PAID IN FULL. Jesus settled the account on the cross. We already owe Him our lives.

No, this is a question of devotion, the kind that exists between Lovers. And actions speak louder than words.

Faith is a choice. Faith is the test of devotion. Solid faith in things not seen is a powerful adhesive, creating an inseparable force.

That’s why faith is also a target, the one the enemy attacks every chance he gets.

Despite the attempts to destroy it, Bella’s journey in New Moon tests and strengthens her faith in Edward, the one, who, in the third chapter, tells her he doesn’t want her any more.

More on that Monday, friends! Hope you tune in! Have a great weekend!


KM Wilsher said...

Simply beautiful. Lori, thanks for being you and thank you for this series!

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh. Nicely said. You're insight is amazing.