[Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched Logan (2017) and intend to do so, go watch it before you read this. Watch out for the profanity and violence.]
Logan is one of those movies that remain with you long after you leave the theatre. I will share a proper reflection on the movie some other time. Just thought I’d reflect on one part of the show. Much of the show has the three main characters, Logan, Professor Xavier and Laura, trying to escape a group called the Reavers who want to capture Laura. The three need to get to a place called Eden, a haven for mutants which may or may not exist.
In the middle of their dangerous road trip they experience warmth and kindness. They stop to help a family, the Munsons, who invite them to their home for a meal. After dinner, Logan wants to move on realising they are in danger and that they would endanger those around them. But Professor Xavier accepts the Munsons offer to stay the night. Xavier hungered for the normalcy and love he had not experienced for a long time. He shares with Logan his vision of what is important in life:
A home, people love each other. A safe place.
For their kindness, the Munsons get slaughtered. They all die horribly at the hands of a Logan clone. Their reward for doing the right thing is death.
Recently I have been going through 1 Samuel for my daily Bible reading. In 1 Samuel 21 and 22 we read the sad story of the priest, Ahimelech. He showed kindness to David and his men. He helped the Lord’s anointed. His reward? He and his family get slaughtered by a jealous Saul. Only one son, Abiathar, escapes. The unfairness of it all is very disturbing. Shouldn’t the Lord have protected the one who did right? The brutal fact, with evidence in the Bible and in life, is that doing the right thing is no protection from evil. In fact, often, the righteous act itself is what triggers evil.
The unfairness that the Munsons suffer in Logan haunts you for the rest of the movie. How will this part of the storyline get resolved? Well, at one level some resolution comes when the bad guys all die in the end. But a more satisfying resolution comes as a surprise. It comes after the movie is over. When the credits are rolling, we hear a Johnny Cash song, “The Man Comes Around (2002)”, a song about the second coming of Jesus. Here is one of the verses:
There’s a man goin’ ’round takin’ names.
An’ he decides who to free and who to blame.
Everybody won’t be treated all the same.
There’ll be a golden ladder reaching down.
When the man comes around.
Ok, the late Johnny Cash may not be the best theologian around and you may question some to the lyrics of the song but it is clearly a song about the return of Christ and the final judgement. No, we will not be treated the same. Choosing God and good may result in pain and suffering in this life but we need to see our lives in the light of this final cosmic audit. Metaphorically, I imagine the Munsons invited up the golden ladder.
As I write this, it has been one month since Pastor Raymond Koh has been kidnapped. Still not a single word from the captors. Still no hopeful updates from the police. In choosing to do the right thing, Pastor Raymond gets kidnapped and who knows what suffering he is undergoing right now, if he is still with us. And his story is just one of many. No, choosing to do the right thing may not bring us immediate rewards. It may actually result in suffering and hardship. But we ask God for the strength and the courage to continue to do what is right. Because we know a day will come when the Man comes around.