“Blam! Thwok!”

Are you getting ready? To SPRING forward??? It’s only ten days away! And, and, and . . . the days get longer, actually that’s not true. They feel longer because daylight lengthens, and in stops and starts, it gets warmer as the daylight gets longer and outside activities become more realistic. I know, it’s still the first week of March and there’s probably some last vestiges of winter ahead, but somehow when we hit March, May seems more realistically within reach. The temps this week make if feel even nearer. Perhaps that’s a dangerous thing if there’s polar vortex just waiting to blast back down, but still, 60 degrees is window opening weather!

I’ve never had a convertible, at least not on purpose. There was that one time I forgot to put the lid to the topper down that was resting on the back of my dad’s pickup and there may have been a more open air feeling with that for awhile, but in terms of a car whose ceiling folds up into invisibility, I’ve never had one. The only time I really have a hankering is when it starts getting warmer in the spring. Yes, I’m getting ahead of myself, but still, I do have some convertible envy on these unseasonably warm days.

Then there’s the whole bucket list maybe I should get a Harley before I die idea. Probably one of those three wheeled kind is a safer bet, but I’d want the one that has the two tires on the front and one on the back, seriously, it looks more like a Bat-mobile and if I get a cape and a helmet . . . you know what they say, always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman!

When I was little Batman and Robin would ALWAYS be on at the same time my parents had to leave for choir. I’d usually get to watch the first ten minutes of it and right as it got really good, we had to get in the car and leave. I’m not certain I ever threw a tantrum, at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It was the television Batman of the late 1960’s where neither he nor Robin had any musculature at all, not even fake six pack abs. Anytime there was a fight, cartoon words would pop up like thwok, and blam. When they moved away from the superimposed words to the actors, the bad guys would be tied up and there wouldn’t be any blood, or cut lips, or bruised eyes, or bloodied knuckles. Your imagination filled in the blanks and I think even back then, I believed the criminals got scared and sat down and let Batman and Robin tie them up without much ado or mortal violence. My dream is still that would be the case, that we might find ways to hold ourselves and sometimes others accountable without verbal or physical mortal harm or violence.

A couple of weeks ago I preached about God and Noah and the ark. And ch. 6:11, 13-14a says, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence . . . and God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself an ark.’”

Author Rachel Held Evans calls that an “Origin” story, and has the perspective that the origin stories through Genesis are meant to tell us the big and broad ideas about God – who God is and how God relates to human beings and the world. In that ark story we find that God sees/remembers Noah and doesn’t destroy all of humanity, but ultimately decides to put a “bow” in the sky to remind God of the covenant not to destroy everything: 9:16 God says, “When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

As creatures made in the image of God, I wonder what our sign might be that we decide not to destroy each other and all the living creatures of the earth, even when we are at our angriest. It doesn’t seem to me in our chapter of history, that we’re taking God’s lead not to destroy one another verbally or physically. Sometimes I wonder if I made some big old posters with the words “thwok” and “blam” and held them up or handed them out when humans started to get ugly with one another if it might make a difference. If your hands are holding big signs, and I mean like life-size signs, you couldn’t at the same time hold an AR15 or a knife or a club or even double up your fists. It’s not a bow in the sky, but they would still be a sign!

I guess I’m taking the God and Noah story a little too literally, but not only do we not take it literally anymore, I don’t even think we take it spiritually seriously as people of faith. We actually often use our faith as a platform to stand on to do verbal if not physical harm to one another. I frankly don’t get it and it wearies my spirit.

But you know what??? It is absolutely beautiful outside in the world today! Kansas has the bluest sky, the brightest sunshine, and the warm temperatures bring me such hope. Maybe on such a gorgeous day, no one will feel the need to thwok or blam, and if we decide we don’t need to today, maybe we decide that again tomorrow, and maybe, one day at a time, that sign that God placed in the sky will be the kind of foundation that makes us realize when God decided not to use violence to solve violence, we might do the same. Just a thought, and one more . . . always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always ALWAYS be Batman!!!

I’m including two old-timey tv video clips today – one, my memory of the Batman I knew, and secondly, a scene from the television show MASH that includes the song Dona Nobis Pacem – “grant us peace.” Indeed.