I’ve recently been watching the new(ish) TV adaption of Robin Hood and it strikes me that the premise of the story is a pretty good analogy for living the Christian life.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the legend of Robin Hood here’s a quick overview: Robin Hood was an outlaw who found himself in a bitter battle with the Sheriff of Nottingham. The sheriff was a greedy individual who taxed an abused his subjects in the absence of the good King Richard who was off fighting in the holy land. Robin Hood and his band of merry men lived in Sherwood Forest, robbing the rich and giving the money they stole to the poor.
Watching the TV adaption what has really hit home to me is the feeling of longing among Hood and his men. They are longing for the day when King Richard comes home and squashes the sheriff. The day when the poor and oppressed will be protected and those that have abused them will be taken to account.
I don’t think that this is a unique theme to Robin Hood. C S Lewis’ Narnia books all have moments when the main characters are longing for the great lion Aslan to come and make things right again. As a lifelong Doctor Who fan I could bore you with countless examples of when the Doctor’s companion is being held hostage by some evil menace or other. She’ll look the monster in the eyes and defiantly says ‘you won’t win. The Doctor will stop you’.
Let’s be honest it’s almost cliché. If I were writing a new super hero film right now there would be a scene in it where his girlfriend (Doris Dingle) has been captured by his nemesis the insane criminal genius Dr Pepper. Doris and Pepper are standing at the top of a large skyscraper (as you do). ‘Spoonbenderman will save me’ Doris will say in an unpolitically correct whiney voice.
‘He won’t’ Pepper will laugh ‘He’s dead.’ Doris will gasp. Pepper will cackle with delight and Spoonbenderman will appear out of nowhere and beat Pepper unconscious with a giant spoon.
OK it’s not going to get picked up my marvel comics but you get the point.
I think that this idea of waiting for a hero to come and save the day is so embedded in our popular culture because deep down we all feel that we need rescuing. As a 12 year old boy trapped in the body of a 31 year old man I frame that need for rescuing in the form of adventure films and TV programmes. (SEXISM ALERT) If I were a 12 year old girl I may frame this need as that of a socially incompetent single woman who wears massive granny pants and needs to be saved from a life of inconsequential loneliness by a tall dark stranger who will love me ‘ just the way I am’. If I were a grown up perhaps I would frame it as the perfect job which will appear from nowhere and solve all of my problems or the lottery ticket which will come and save me from all my financial pressures.
My point is that it is a normal human thing to feel because we are all in need of rescuing. The Bible tells us that we are fallen people living in a fallen world. The world is dying and we are as well along with it. We have a hope though. We have a hero who will save us. Jesus has saved us and he will come again to put everything right.
To return to Robin Hood for a moment. If the plot had simply been 6 men sitting in the woods waiting for someone to come back from a war it would have been a pretty boring TV series. Robin Hood had all of his exciting capers thwarting the Sheriff of Nottingham because he knew a day was coming when the King would come back. This gave him the confidence to fight for the king whilst he was away. The confidence to take risks to make the world a better place until that day came. Similarly as Christians we know that Jesus is coming again so we should be living like that too. We should be standing up for what we believe in and trying to make the world a better place.