My friend Atley and I watched Brightburn on Saturday (warning: spoilers ahead). We both enjoyed the movie, but we noticed that the movie left us feeling a bit gross. Granted, that’s not uncommon for horror movies, especially in an age when the horror genre seems to lean heavily on gratuitous violence or sexual content to capture attention. I typically don’t enjoy (or view) such movies. But Brightburn was different. While Atley and I pointed to a few instances of unnecessary gore in the movie, Brightburn left us uncomfortable not because of what it included but because of what it lacked.
A number of my friends from seminary work in local churches, meaning their coworkers and bosses are fellow believers. A number of other friends, however, work in coffee shops, department stores, or in other non-religious occupations. One such friend recently asked how Christians in such positions can best represent Christ to their coworkers, specifically when lifestyles and ethical frameworks conflict. Today, I want to offer a few thoughts on the subject.
Remember now the darkness of those three long days before
The dawning of the day of resurrection,
For few have felt the fear of thinking God had lost the war.
The shadow of his people’s insurrection
Now loomed across the future. Now our hope seemed spent and slain.
The light of life appeared to be extinguished.
The ones who sang his praises now in shock sang no refrain.
His life, howe’er, was willingly relinquished.
What seemed to be a sure defeat was fixed before the fall.
The devil’s darkest scheme was his undoing.
As Christ was lifted up, he drew all men to heed his call.
He drained the cup of wrath our sin was brewing.
The bitter silence of that Sabbath day must have been great.
Unheard, Satan’s presumpt’ous celebration.
When was it Satan realized the cross had sealed his fate?
The slaughtered lamb became our faith’s foundation.
We now look back in wonder at this work in history
And sing with joy to God who reigns eternal.
The cornerstone came forth again in holy victory
O’er ev’ry sin, the mean and the infernal.
The resurrection of the Son secured our joy and peace.
No enemy can sabotage or sever
Us from the Father’s love. In him, sin’s slavery must cease.
Sing praise, his people, now and to forever.
Photo by Ricky Turner on Unsplash
I watched The Exorcist in high school. While I watched movies often in those days, especially action/adventure movies and comedies, I hadn’t yet explored much in the realm of horror. The movie left an impression on me that remains to this day, though not because the movie itself scared me. No, I remember The Exorcist because, around the viewing of the film, I was told stories of real life events that inspired parts of the story. The story of The Exorcist forced me to recognize the reality of spiritual warfare, the existence of actual demons. The film reminded me that we face a very real, very evil enemy.
Unmatched, unmarred by sin, unshaken, God
Maintains the utmost glory. ‘Fore his face
E’en angels hide their faces. In that place
Corruption is not suffered, cannot trod
The ground made holy by his presence. Hide
Your eyes; gain clarity. Be still and know
That he is LORD o’er all, above, below.
Fear fills us, fear fulfills us: terrified
In tenderness. Unknown yet known; most high;
E’er near; eternally enthroned above
All enemies, all not-gods, perfect love
Perfectly conquers all, never runs dry.
The sun is but a shadow of his light.
No darkness can present a worthy fight.
Photo by Roland Epple on Unsplash
Huge thanks to Brett Dickson for his invaluable insight and encouragement during the writing of this poem.
How should the people of the light respond to threats from the great darkness in this world?
Our homes were never meant to harbor hell,
And none but this one did so quite so well.
Just past these doorposts lies a darkened world,
And past these portals, horrors are unfurled;
And hopeless are these walls, for want of light
Doth plague this home inhabited by night.
A broken staircase hides the higher realms,
The faded family portrait overwhelms,
And traces of the life that could have been
Are broken on the floor, this devil’s den.
The ghosts of my forefathers walk these rooms.
This dwelling place is home to many tombs,
Memorials to tragedy and pain.
The curse of ages past has left its stain.
Corruption reaches to the cornerstone.
This house was built of blood and born of death.
This history still haunts the present time.
The forlorn fate of this dead wood and stone
Is to keep from its occupant the breath
That urges him to flee, to fight, to climb.
Photo by Daniel Olah on Unsplash
Do we then dare to look within
These hearts inhabited by sin
That we, by looking well, might win
Our lives from this dark gamble?
Or is the truth too much to take
For all the ways it makes us shake
When bones and promises do break
And lives are seen in shambles?
For when we peer behind the screen,
And our reality is seen,
We cannot claim that we are clean
But must confess conviction.
We spurned the fountainhead above
And killed the son who came in love.
Our hands still bear his blood like gloves.
Our innocence is fiction.
We dare not let ourselves believe
That we could e’er our sins retrieve.
Christ’s righteousness we must receive
If we would walk in freedom.
So take no chances with this life
By gambling yours ‘gainst certain strife.
Embrace the Word, the surgeon’s knife,
And leave the liar’s kingdom.
There is a depth of darkness that, when found,
Appears to the observer to be light,
A light so strange, so buried, yet so bright:
Illumination hidden in the ground.
The world to this observer all around
Appears as filtered through his altered sight,
Assures that he alone is in the right.
In time, his voice will be to him the sound
Of truth amidst a mass of ignorance.
His earth will seem to him a world of slaves
In need of him, the savior of mankind.
In truth, the darkness robbed him of his sense.
He cannot tell he walks among the graves
Of others who, like him, have been made blind.
I love fall. As weather begins to cool and leaves begin to litter the ground, I always find myself feeling excited for the change. Growing up in south Louisiana, I became used to heat and humidity, so any change from that constant is most welcome.