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April 2012 - The Hunger Game


You may be aware of a movie that has been recently released named The Hunger Games.  Now I have not seen the movie, but my son Michael tells me I would enjoy the books it is based on.  And since I have not seen it, I certainly have no opinion about whether it is good, bad, something to be seen or avoided.   But, I did run across an article on the LCMS web page based on the movie that I found intriguing. 

            In the article, Pastor Philip Wolf briefly summarizes the plot:

            The story takes place “in the not-so-distant future in the fictional country of Panem. The science-fiction/action/drama novel and movie portray a war-ravaged Panem still reeling from the effects of battle. Nearly 75 years later, the citizens are still under the control of the Capitol, which overtook the 12 surrounding districts and forced them to support the Capitol with their resources.

Life is one long party of super-abundance and unbridled self-indulgence for residents of the Capitol. But those in the districts suffer great deprivation, little freedom and ferocious punishment from the Capitol “peacekeepers” for infractions of any sort.

To make matters worse, the Capitol keeps the districts under control in a horribly gruesome way: by annually “reaping” one male and one female from each district to serve as “tributes” in the Hunger Games. The games are annual reminders to the citizens of Panem’s districts that they are never again to rebel against the Capitol, as they did during the war.

In The Hunger Games, tributes compete in the gladiator-like, nationally-televised arena, where the last living competitor is the winner. This futuristic reality TV is graphic entertainment for the citizens of the Capitol but heart-wrenching, psychological oppression for the district’s residents…Throughout the book and the movie, readers and viewers learn more about the hunger for real, true life and, therefore, also real, true love, both of which are universal and timeless.”

Now this is what I found timely and intriguing: Pastor Wolf then begins to illustrate how we can take a current event, topic, movie, etc., that people are talking about or interested in and use it as a means to speaking about the Gospel.   This story has a natural hook in it that we can use to speak about the Real Hunger Game we all are involved in.  The article continues:

This world’s original parents, Adam and Eve, knew this hunger from the moment they sinned in Gen. 3:6, and it only grew stronger by verses 23–24. They did not realize they already had what they thought they were acquiring. Because of their mistaken and misguided hunger, they and all their descendants came to know real, true death and lovelessness. They were now in a survival situation along with the citizens of Panem and us.

Thankfully, we have the promise of ultimate survivor status. This guarantee was fulfilled in Luke 2:11 and John 19:30. We see in Rom. 5:1–11 that the one, truly sufficient “tribute” justly due God has been paid by God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who died for us while we were yet sinners. The waters of Baptism have washed away all the damning shame of our sin. God declares us just, as though we never sinned. We have peace with God in His Son, Christ Jesus, and in the sacrifice of His life-blood on Calvary’s cross. His empty tomb on Easter is our receipt from God, guaranteeing that Jesus’ eternal life is also our eternal life with Him in heaven. Because God gave us faith at Baptism, we are guaranteed survivors of our “hunger games” with all their life-threatening perils. But that’s not all. “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37)

Real life and love seemed more like fiction than fact to Katniss (the main character in the story) in The Hunger Games. Things seldom were the way she thought they should be. She was confused and unsure of herself throughout The Hunger Games…

But by God’s grace, we stand in certainty of God’s gift of His eternal life and love. Because of our Baptisms, we are perfectly confident that we have God’s eternal life and love in faith in Christ Jesus. And since we are so confident of being far more than survivors of this life’s “hunger games,” we are free. We are free to witness our new hunger for God’s Word of life in His Word and Sacraments, which most certainly give God’s real, eternal life and love.

Here, all hunger for life and love is satisfied in Christ. Here, life and love are not games at which we play. Here, life and love are pure, perfect reality with no uncertainty, no illusions or deceptions and no fine-print escape clauses. Here, Christ stands in our place. Here, we are blessed.                        

When you find yourself in conversation with folks over things such as this, when folks are considering deeper meanings and applications to stories and events in their lives, don’t be afraid, when appropriate to give them an eternal perspective to life – the Truth of God’s answer to their hunger in Christ Jesus.








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