Have you heard of Comic-Con? I love lots of the shows and films that the event celebrates but I would never dream of going. What motivates 130,000+ people to attend? To be honest, I just don’t get it.
There is the expense of traveling and accommodation. Some fans choose to wear costumes that have taken hours to make. Then there is getting up early to queue to get in to the panel you want to attend. People started queuing at 6am this week to hear the panel of actors from the upcoming ‘Penguins of Madagascar’. The hall this was taking place in has a capacity of 6500 people.
So what attracts people to Comic-Con? Here are some of my thoughts.
Trying to hear breaking news first: Amongst other things, people are hoping to find out who Marvel have signed to play Dr Strange and people also want to know if there will be another series of 24. Clearly this isn’t the only reason for attending because you can find out these things seconds after they are announced through the internet.
Meeting your idol: The 6500 people weren’t all waiting to hear about penguins, many of them were wearing Sherlock costumes and were waiting to hear from Benedict with the hard to pronounce surname. Many of these fans will tell people they were in the same room as their idol but perhaps they will neglect to mention the fact that there were 6549 others there as well.
The feeling of belonging: When you are a Sci Fi nerd it’s easy to feel you’re the odd one out in ordinary life but at Comic-Con you can fit right in.
Passion: The fans are committed to what is the most important thing to them.
Can Christians learn anything from Comic-Con? Is attending Comic-Con anything like being a disciple?
Hearing breaking news first: Jesus told his disciples that they were his friends and that he was telling them everything that his heavenly Father had told him (John 15.15). Following Jesus involves him teaching us new things and him revealing things to us.
Meeting your idol: Jesus promises to be with us always. Fans queued to spend a short time with Benedict but he didn’t know who each of them were. How could he? No human can speak to and get to know 6500 people. The fans were thrilled to hear from and be in the same room as Benedict but with Jesus there is more. Jesus does know us and he wants to travel through life with us if we will choose to turn to him.
The feeling of belonging: Jesus called a group of people to follow him. Community is central to the Christian faith and it makes me sad when people describe Christianity as Jesus and me. Church should be an opportunity to be community (but hopefully with less fancy dress than Comic-Con).
Passion: Paul, one of the first Christian leaders, said that knowing Jesus was the greatest thing in his life. He went on to say that in comparison to knowing Jesus that everything else was like rubbish. As you watch Comic-Con you can see the excitement of the fans. I wonder if we Christians are as excited about Jesus?
For some Christians, pilgrimage is an essential part of their faith. A pilgrimage involves travelling to a place that a person believes is sacred. It feels like Comic-Con is a pilgrimage for the fans as they head off once a year to find their most sacred and special place. I’m not a Christian who believes in the necessity of pilgrimage because I believe that every place is sacred and that we need to meet God where we are in each and every moment. Jesus is willing to be our Lord, he longs to teach and confide in us and to show us who he is and this will lead to us being more passionate about following him. As many of us meet to worship Jesus today let’s inspire one another as we share all that he is doing in our lives. As we meet with Jesus together may we listen to and let him teach and lead us.