For those of you who know me well, you know that I have a love for science fiction and fantasy genre. Well, I recently finished watching a series that aired for five years on the Syfy channel, called Merlin. It followed the story of the most notable sorcerer in the fiction world. It showed him as a young man coming to Camelot during a time in which Uther Pendragon ruled. Arthur, the famous King Arthur and the knights of the round table, was yet only a prince at this time.
As the story unfolds, we find out that Uther used magic to help his wife get pregnant and produce an heir because medically it was not possible. The king was warned that using magic to bring life into the world would bring dire consequences and a life would have to be taken in order to bring balance. He proceeded anyway and Arthur was born. Shortly after his birth, the life of the queen was taken. Uther, outraged and angered at the death of his wife, blamed all magic and magicians for this act of treachery and outlawed all magic and sentenced to death all who practiced magic.
Merlin was born with magic, was born a powerful sorcerer. He was thought to be the most powerful sorcerer who ever lived. His mother sent him to Camelot as a young man to live with Guise, the court physician, because he needed a male role model in his life having been abandoned by his father at a young age. She believed he needed a male role model to guide him as his magic developed and as he grew into manhood.
WIth magic being outlawed, Merlin had to be very careful about using magic and drawing attention to himself. For five years, he served as Arthur's servant. Time and time again, Merlin used his magic to defend Uther (who would have had him killed had he found out) and Arthur against those who would have destroyed both Uther and Arthur, as well as the whole of Camelot. He grew to love Arthur and believe in him and the kind of kingdom he would build. After Uther died at the hands of magic and Arthur assumed the crown, Merlin continued to serve faithfully and use magic to defend and promote Arthur as a wise and loving king. All this time, he did so secretly and quietly for even after Arthur became king, magic continued to be outlawed.
As the series came to an end, it builds to a final battle with the witch Morgana wages a battle against Camelot and Arthur. A prophecy predicts Arthurs death at the hands of an evil sorcerer Mordrid during this battle and Merlin races to prevent it. Merlin loses his magic through an attack of Morgana just prior to the battle. Merlin races to a cave of magic in the hopes of regain his magic in order to aid Arthur in this final battle. He is successful and races to the battle late, but is able to turn the tide of the battle allowing Arthur and his knights to be victorious in routing the enemy.
However, because he was late in coming to the battle, Mordrid still inflicts a deadly wound on Arthur before Merlin can prevent it. The sword used by Mordrid to inflict a wound upon Arthur is a magical sword and the wound can only be healed by the powerful magic of the Shea. Merlin races to the Shea in hopes of finding a cure for the wound Arthur is suffering.
At the beginning of this journey, Merlin finally reveals to Arthur that he is a sorcerer and Arthur is shocked and angry at Merlin's deception and lies. Arthur is angry that Merlin lied to him and his his magic all those years. When asked why, Merlin said that if he had told him, he would have killed him. Arthur replied that he did not know what he would have done. Merlin told him that he did not want to put him in that position. Arthur seemed taken aback that Merlin was concerned for Arthur's position and not for his own life.
As they travel to the Shea, Merlin has to use to his magic to defend and protect themselves for soldiers and use magic to conceal their tracks. Arthur is struggling to accept this side of Merlin and struggling to deal with Merlin's deception. At one point, Merlin uses magic to cover their tracks and lead their followers onto a different path. Arthur recognizes this trick as something that Merlin has done before. He comments, "All those years, Merlin, and you never once sought recognition for anything." Merlin responds, "That is not why I did it."
And herein is the point of this blog. I was struck by this final episode so much that I actually watched it twice. All my life, I have pondered why this science fiction, fantasy world of magic and wonders has so appealed to me. I have concluded that part of my flesh desires the power, the recognition, to knowing that there is something special and significant about me that makes a difference in the world. And that I am recognized and praised for it. The fallen flesh desires knowing it is significant and desires that others recognize that as well.
What has been so striking to me is that Merlin realized a higher purpose for his magic. While there were times he desired to tell Arthur the truth and he wanted him to know and accept that side of who he was, he knew that his magic existed for a higher purpose; to serve the king, to make him look good, to make him successful, to build his kingdom, and to serve the king who was greater then himself.
Do you see what I saw? Is this not what we as Christians are called to do? We are called to use our gifts, talents, abilities, and lives sacrificially, completely, and unreservedly to serve the KING OF KINGS, to make God look great, to please HIm, to build His Kingdom, to serve Him who is greater than we.
We are not given gifts, talents, abilities, and tasks in order to get the credit and recognition. We are called to use those TO SERVE THE KING, to build His KINGDOM, to SERVE Him, to MAKE HIM GREAT regardless of whether we are recognized for it or not.
Merlin was content with this task. Am I?
Who would ever have thought I would find a life lesson, a spiritual lesson from the science fiction show, Merlin? And yet, God used it to bring this lesson to light.
Now to live it, that is the task. May God strengthen me for the journey.