Every year around this time, I wistfully think that at some point in my life, I might want to attend Comic-Con, the extravaganza of all things geek, from comics and graphic novels to television, movies, and beyond. There are presentations, panels, exhibit halls, and costumes, costumes everywhere! People spend hours, even days, waiting to get into the most coveted events. But I have a thing about being in crowded spaces, so I’m not sure I will ever attend. Instead, I live vicariously by reading and viewing the Comic-Con coverage online, including the panel discussions for some of my favorite television shows and movies.
This year, I watched the 10th anniversary "Firefly" panel discussion, which will officially air on the Science Channel in November. Though it only lasted one season on Fox, "Firefly" quickly gained cult status (how, you ask, does a person know when a show has gained cult status? The show’s fans have a collective name. Firefly’s fans call themselves Browncoats). Serenity, a screen adaptation of the series, was produced a few years later, and there are comics and graphic novels, too.
It is often amusing to watch these panel discussions, and I am impressed by the way the actors, writers, and producers on the panel say really funny, off-the-cuff remarks and riff off each other seamlessly. There is definitely an art to comic timing. I think it’s fun to see their obvious esteem for each other and for their fans.
What people want to know at the panel discussions is, “How has the (show, movie, etc.) affected you? What does it mean to you?” This is the point at which you might see grown men cry. Nathan Fillion, who played Captain Malcolm Reynolds on the series, reminisced, “When "Firefly" died, I thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen. What I realize now, 10 years later…the worst thing that could have happened is if it stayed dead.” Firefly lives on for its fans, in graphic novel form, and via DVD sales for the series. It has been, in effect, resurrected.
Fillion’s statement was a powerful reminder to me of the way Christians talk about their hope in Jesus. We claim to serve a living God whose son, Jesus, was crucified, died, and resurrected. We read the accounts of Jesus’ disciples who witnessed him — not a ghost, but the real, physical person — walking, eating, and talking with them after his death. So paraphrasing Nathan Fillion, the worst thing Christians believe could have happened is if Jesus stayed dead. Without this important element, would the movement have died in Galilee all those years ago? Would the disciples have gone back to their lives as fishermen, laborers, tax collectors? Would Paul have proclaimed the risen Christ across the Mediterranean world? If a one-season show like Firefly can create such devotion, imagine what belief in the risen son of God can do.
What does Jesus’ resurrection mean to you?