Film Friday: Wonder Woman

Diana grows up as princess of the Amazons, training alongside them, but although she has incredible fighting skills, what she is called to do is battle for peace. She may be tough but she is called to fight for harmony. Not violence.

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When Diana rescues a spy and hears about the First World War raging on earth, she decides to join the battle for peace. She believes that the fighting is not merely a matter of the physical world, but is caused by a greater, evil force, Ares – the god of war. So she sails with him to London. When she and spy Steve find themselves cornered by a bunch of bad guys, Diana shows her true strength.

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In the Old Testament book of Judges, in chapter 4, we read the stories of two tough women, both of whom fight for peace in their different ways. Deborah is a prophetess, bringing wisdom to her people on a daily basis. When they are oppressed by the evil king Jabin she calls for general Barak and tells him to organise an army, for God is going lead them to victory. Deborah’s name means ‘bee’ and most likely she was a leader with a sting, not afraid to speak out the difficult things. When Barak asks her to go with them into battle she agrees, but advises him that in doing so she will be remembered for the victory, not him. When they win the battle Sisera, the enemy general, flees for his life. He is then tricked by the other tough woman in this chapter, Jael, who invites him to take refuge in her tent. While he takes 40 winks she takes a tent peg and pins his head to the floor. Ouch! Be on your guard if you ever go camping with Jael!

At the end of chapter 4 we read Israel’s perspective on the battle – God had done it. He had won for them, even though they had been very involved indeed. We’re told in verse 15 that God made the enemy descend into chaos, not unlike the way the Midianites got confused and fought each other when Gideon attacked them (a few chapters later) with little more than trumpets and night lights. King David often wrote of God’s powerful work of rescue and salvation in his psalms, even though he often had to use every ounce of his own strength to battle through difficult situations. The point here is that the people of God realised there was more going on. The battle was not just earth bound. Not merely flesh and blood.

Our days can often feel like a bit of battle, or more than a bit, as the unexpected occurs or we wake feeling like death warmed-up. We may not be in the kind of tent peg smashing situation, but we do often need our wits about us to deal with life’s surprising and unrequested challenges. Not wishing to over-spiritualise here, but there are two dimensions to life, ours and God’s, and who knows what battles rage in the unseen as we soldier on in the known world. The writers of the Bible understood this, realising that life is more than physical matter. And they assure us that God fights for us as we do our best to make it through. We cannot see it, but the battle is his as much as ours. And Old Testament wonder women Deborah and Jael recognised that. Jesus saw things very clearly. ‘You’ll have problems in this world,’ he said, ‘but be encouraged, I have overcome the world.’ And the champion letter writer Paul told the Ephesians, ‘We don’t battle against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual realm. So don’t rely on your own strength, but use the weapons of faith, prayer, salvation, peace and truth.’ (Ephesians 6 vv 10-18)

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