How to Read Apocalypse
For those who don’t know, my wife and I live in intentional community with another family, and right now there are four kids in our house between ages 6-9. As you can imagine, the pandemic has been rough on their parents – trying to manage schooling at home plus working – many of you know the strain they’re under.
In my ongoing quest to be a good housemate, I’ve taken to inviting the kids into our upstairs living space for a weekly movie. We started with Into the Spider-verse, and then moved onto the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie.
It’s a terrific little movie, but it turned out to be pretty intense for the 6 year old. My wife and I have this big floor cushion that she’s claimed as “hers” any time we have a movie party, and she started Sonic there. But early in the film, the evil Dr. Robotnick attacks Sonic, and during that scene, she got up and sat between her sister and cousin, burying herself in her blanket.
When I asked her if she was okay, she admitted, “I’m scared.”
“What are you afraid of?” I asked her.
“I’m afraid Sonic is going to die.”
I smiled and spoiled the movie for her. “Don’t worry… Sonic doesn’t die.”
We kept watching, and as you might imagine, the film ends with a pretty intense action sequence where Sonic and his allies once again face off against the evil Dr.
I looked over to see how she was doing, and the 6 yo sat up and announced to the room, “Don’t worry, everyone! Sonic doesn’t die!” She had a big smile on her face and was genuinely enjoying the action. At the end of the film, all four of the kids were very angry to find out Sonic 2 was not out yet.
Sonic doesn’t die.
Her problem was that she didn’t know what kind of story she was in. Adults know that kids movies are comedies – they have happy endings. We know Sonic doesn’t die.
But she didn’t know that, so she was paralyzed by fear. It wasn’t until I assured her we weren’t watching that kind of movie she was able to relax and enjoy the film (even evangelizing her cousins and sibling that it was okay for them to enjoy it too).
Aristotle said there are two kinds of stories: Comedies and tragedies. Tragedies end with a funeral – Sonic dies. Comedies end with a wedding – Sonic doesn’t die.
Friends, today we’re going to talk about the nature of reality, and our response to the world. It’s easy, isn’t it, to be convinced we’re living in a tragedy, that things are bad and getting worse, that reality ends with a funeral.
But the truth is that we’re living in a comedy. That doesn’t mean we’re laughing all the time. It means our world doesn’t end with Death, but with life. We’re not living in a world where Sonic dies.