Hercules

Jan 6, 2014

Some of you reading this will remember a time before television was as pervasive and available as it is now. I recall when I was young that cartoons were simply not regularly accessible. Not like now where there is an entire network devoted to them! That being said, they are not cartoons like I watched as a kid. No Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker or Huckleberry Hound (Oh my darlin, Oh my darlin…). For the most part, cartoons were only available on Saturday mornings and a few other rare occasions. I wonder if any of you remember The Mighty Hercules ? It was really lame by today’s standards but I loved it. Hercules had an annoying side kick centaur named Newton who was forever saying “hey Herc, hey Herc…” Look it up on YouTube.

I suspect it was my first exposure to Greek mythology. Maybe you know that in actuality Hercules is a Romanized form of Heracles the true Greek myth. Maybe you missed that when we studied these things in Jr. High. Speaking of studying these things, do you remember the story of Hercules and Antaeus? Antaeus was one of the sons of Poseidon. He was invincible as long as he was touching the ground… i.e. Mother Earth. Hercules fought him but could not defeat him since each time Hercules threw him to the ground Antaeus regained his strength. Once Hercules discovered the secret to Antaeus’ strength he held him off of the ground and crushed him in a bear hug.

This story has been used over the years to illustrate what happens to someone when they are “removed from their base”; or when they are taken from their foundation and source of strength. That raises an obvious question… what is your foundation or base? What do you live by and for? Where do you return to when you need grounding? Well in today’s world and in our culture we are being taught that we are our own foundation. We are the Lords of our life and the kings and queens of our domain. Do whatever you want to whoever you want because you are accountable to no one. Frankly I hear this sort of attitude so much amongst young people that it makes me ill. And honestly… amongst not so young people as well. I wonder if this helps to explain to some degree the epidemic of depression in our culture? When there is nowhere to go for support and grounding than to ourselves… and we are broken… well, that sounds like a formula for depression if I ever heard one. It reminds me of going to your best friend in Jr. High school for advice on girls or guys… when they have never had a girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s a study in futility!

So again the question… what is your base? And don’t answer this question too quickly. If you do, you will likely be fooling yourself. I know people who would say that their faith is their base… and yet there is little indication in their lives that their faith has any bearing on who they are. Your base could be your work and security. It could be family. It could be a spouse or a friend. Where do you go for support and a foundation?

Let me throw a thought out here: The Gospel of John speaks often about “truth.” Maybe the most well known verse is: John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. That’s pretty close to saying “I am the foundation for all things and for all life.” Are you looking for your base? Well you could have Jesus. It works for me. It’s up to you. I also wonder about our kids… what is their base? Do you have kids? Do you think about that?

In Proverbs we’re told this: Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

What does that mean? Well alternate translations aside it simply means this: Children will return to their base or foundation even if they are old. Does that mean ALL children? I don’t think so, but as a general principle if children are truly raised in the faith they will come back to the faith. Notice, I said “truly.” Dropping them off at Sunday School periodically doesn’t count. Nor does it count to belong to a church. And it means little that they go through “confirmation class.” And if the faith is not openly proclaimed in our families… then children are not being raised “Christian.”

Well, enough of that. Take some time today to meditate on your foundation. What/who do you rely on to steer the course of your life?

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