This is the last of a three part series relating the life of Christian believers to Joseph Campbell’s theory of the monomyth and the hero’s journey. For part two click here.
Refusal of the Return
‘Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, the hero may not want to return to the ordinary world to bestow the boon onto his fellow man.’
To fully understand ‘the Return’ concept in the life of the believer we have to understand the concept of ‘already, and not yet’ in regards to the fulfillment of our quest as believers. As believers we are already guaranteed deliverance from God’s wrath and are promised eternal life. But we have yet to experience it.
There is no return for us from the ultimate fulfillment of our quest (eternal resurrected life). But there is a ‘Return’ if you like from the invisible kingdom of God that shares his promises. We become apart of this kingdom when we repent and turn to God but we must still live in (or return) to the world that exists apart from the kingdon of God.
It is tempting for the believer once they have been saved to spend their life in the comfort of hanging out with other believers and try to avoid the outside world. We are called though to proclaim the gospel to others just as it was declared to us and thus sharing the ‘ultimate boon’ (the truth of God) with the world.
The Magic Flight
‘Sometimes the hero must escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding. It can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.’
We have an enemy in Satan who does not want us to preach the gospel and will seek to instill fear in us. Persecution will come from a spiritually blind world. The Christian must overcome these to be faithful to the we have in Christ.
Rescue from Without
‘Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, oftentimes he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience.’
We are not in the evangelism journey alone. We have the church, our fellow workers in Christ who are seeking to bring hope to a lost world. This is equally applicable to our journey to glorify God and endure to the end. When we stumble and fall our brothers and sisters in Christ are there to stand firm with us and to help us up.
The Crossing of the Return Threshold
‘The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world. This is usually extremely difficult.’
For the believer his means living a righteous life in a fallen world while seeking to reconcile that world to God. We have been transformed by the work that Christ has done in our heart and we must be faithful to mature and live up to the calling we have in Christ.
Master of Two Worlds
‘This step is usually represented by a transcendental hero like Jesus or Buddha. For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. The person has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds.’
For the Christian this means recognising there is no dichotomy between the spiritual and material world. All aspects of our lives are connected to our spirituality.
Freedom to Live
‘Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.’
For the believer death is no longer to be feared, not because of the mastery of self but because of the acceptance of grace and hope in Christ. We are all dead men walking but our hope lies in the future resurrection that we have in Christ.
The life of the believer in Christ is no myth. It has been experienced by quite possible billions of people. Ultimately though we are not the hero of our respective stories. That honour lies with Christ. But it is significant that the journey that God has for each and every single one of us is a heroic tale in its own right. The fact that it has been experienced by so many does not diminish the wonder of this. Rather it emphasises that greatness of the journey that God has given us and the love he shows us therein. Many would say that a good God would bestow upon each of his children the chance to live a life of epic proportions. That is exactly what he has done.