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TV Snapshot: Casting out fear

Chloe: Okay, now, I know I don't need to remind you what happened last time you turned back the clock. There's always a consequence.

Clark: The world fears me, Chloe, and as long as they know who I am, I can't help them. I don't have a choice.

(text via
In the “Infamous” episode of Smallville, villain Linda Lake (Tori Spelling) returns to blackmail Clark about his Kryptonian identity and powers and his masquerade as the Red-Blue Blur (who rescues folks in Metropolis). Instead of giving into her blackmail, Clark reveals his secrets to Lois Lane and asks her to publish them to the world. At first, folks are enamored and supportive of Clark and his work to save others. But Lake gets back at Clark by insinuating that he’s the first wave of an alien invasion. Public opinion turns (as Lake says at one point: “Funny thing about people. The only thing they love more than building up heroes is tearing them down.”), and Clark decides to use a time-travel ring the Legion gave him earlier in the season to go back in time and stop Lake before she threatens him.

As he reveals in the quote that started this post, Clark’s reasons for doing all this isn’t self-preservation. Instead, he wants to go back and undo what’s been done so that he do what he was sent to do: help and protect people. And he can’t do that if they are afraid of him.

With all the messiah themes running through Superman lore, I couldn’t help but wonder if this doesn't get at some part of why God chose to come to us as Jesus—though whereas Clark’s answer to people’s fear was to reveal less of himself, God’s answer was to reveal more.

Not that there isn’t reason to fear God. God is beyond imagination and comprehension. His power is inconceivable and awe-full. With a word he speaks light into being and with a breath gives life. “Now, no one can look on the light when it is bright in the skies,” Elihu tells Job:
when the wind has passed and cleared them. Out of the north comes golden splendor; around God is awesome majesty. The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power and justice, and abundant righteousness he will not violate. Therefore mortals fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit. (NRSV)
But that’s not the whole of his revelation. All along, even after we tore ourselves from him and sought our own way, scripture tells us God wanted something more—something much more. God wants to save us—to heal us and make us whole. He wants us to know him and his love as we did in the beginning. “I will write my law upon their hearts. . . . For God so loved the world. . . . God is love.”

Not that this love isn’t something formidable and breathtaking. It is fierce, honed with purpose and intent, raging against that which infects and seeks to destroy his creation. It is a love that swallows death and darkness even as it protects, restores, renews and explodes in life. Like C.S. Lewis’ Aslan, this love is not tame, but it is safe. A love that longs to grasp tight the heart and flood it clean and new.

And in its fierce purpose and fire, this love comes in Jesus, who breaks bread, touches blind eyes, commands lame to walk and embraces children even as he throws over tables of greed, tongue-lashes hypocrisy, and drops stones from the hands of men with a few words. This love drinks the cup of wrath and produces a fountain of life, leaving darkness and death gasping their last. This love of God in Jesus seeks to banish fear and walk the earth with us. It is a love that embraces us like the father of the prodigal son rushing to meet his longed-for boy while he was yet a long way down the road. Like an unbridled child, we run to a love-brimmed father. A swirl of strong arms enveloping abandoned joy, acceptance, right-ness and oh-so-indescribable and abounding grace.

This is a love by which you want to be loved.

This is a love that drives out fear.

When we know that love, everything changes. It is a love that offers us what we lost, a chance to once again walk in the wide-open spaces of grace, glory and love, to walk with God as we did in the beginning.

If we reject that love, then, yes, let us fear God. But know this: there is oh-so-much-more.

(Image: CW via YouTube) smallvillectgy


Ken Brown said…
I find it funny how they keep playing off our expectations for Chloe (and Lex). It seems like every episode they find some way to almost kill her, but then she always ends up fine. I think they are teasing us, and I wonder if they do it too many times, will we believe them when the finale actually comes?
Carmen Andres said…
oh, heck, maybe it'll all end up being a messed up dream brought on by a meteor strike on the spaceship she's on. oh, no, wait. that's been done before. unfortunately. unbelievably. oiy.
Karen said…
I need that kind of love in my life. Great episode and great commentary!
Carmen Andres said…
thanks, karen! and i need that kind of love, too.