Sometimes my train to work is cancelled, and I have to get a bus to Brixton to catch the tube.
This happened a couple of weeks ago. As the bus neared my final stop and waited at the last set of traffic lights, I looked out of the window to see Brixton’s Ritzy cinema displaying its latest showing, Wonder Woman. The slogan read:
‘The future of justice begins with her. Wonder Woman is out now.’
I’d already heard someone say that this movie is significant for the body of Christ, so I was already curious. I wouldn’t normally expect a superhero movie to speak into my life, but I was willing to keep an open mind.
My naysayers will laugh, but the Lord has been speaking to me a lot through posters and adverts recently. Which makes my commute 10x more fun!
And if you don’t already know, justice is ‘my thing’. Nothing fuels me like the desire to see justice for the vulnerable, the oppressed, the forgotten and the mistreated. So this advert grabbed my attention.
If you’ve been reading my blog regularly you’ll know I’ve felt like I’ve been in a spiritual warzone for a while now. For about 12 months it seems like I’ve come up against every kind of trial and opposition (and seen others facing the same).
Many times breakthrough has seemed so close in one area or another, and then another hit has come out of left field. The Lord has been so faithful, giving me many words of encouragement and signs of hope. But like any battle, assurance of victory does not stop you from becoming tired.
Yesterday was another hard day and I almost felt like texting my housemate to ask if we could postpone our Wonder Woman date.
Thankfully I didn’t.
You might be thinking, ‘Hey, you’re an English graduate! You’re obviously going to find meaning that isn’t there.’
Well, I don’t care whether the symbolism in this film was intentional or not. The Lord certainly doesn’t care about that. He’s spoken to me through a poster for a rugby tournament before, so He can do exactly as He wants. And He definitely spoke to me through this movie.
There will be minor spoilers ahead but hopefully not enough to ruin the film for you!
The plot is simple – Diana, a goddess raised on an island of Amazon warrior women, encounters mankind one day by chance, and realises her destiny is to save them from a terrible war. As the story progresses she eventually realises that saving mankind is more complicated than she had anticipated, because man is intrinsically capable of evil.
Her adversary mocks her during one of the climactic scenes, telling her that these people don’t deserve saving. But she responds with the familiar message that love triumphs over evil. Grace.
The gospel message here would be hard for the least imaginative Christian not to grasp, yet this wasn’t what struck me most.
It was the warfare symbolism that jumped out at me. It was like Ephesians 6:10-20 brought to life.
As Diana is training for battle with her fellow Amazons at the start of the film, she loses her focus for a moment, is caught off guard and knocked to the ground.
Her trainer yells: ‘Never let your guard down! You expect the battle to be fair! The battle will never be fair!’
It almost felt like this Amazon queen was yelling at me. Tired from contending for the same things over and over, I’ve let my guard down at times, and it’s always when I do this that I get knocked down.
Then, to go into battle, Diana needs to be not only fully trained but fully armed. She is given a sword and told this is the weapon that will defeat the villain. I immediately thought of the ‘sword of the Spirit’ – the Word of God.
Diana also possesses a kind of whip, which when lassoed around any opponent will force them to tell the truth. Not far off from Ephesians 6:14’s ‘belt of truth’, right?
Later, a battle scene unfolds where Diana, helping the British in the fight against the Nazis, steps out onto ‘No Man’s Land.’ She is told that this ground is impossible to win; that for a year they have taken mere inches. They tell her it is futile to attempt it.
But fully dressed in armour, she steps confidently onto the battlefield. The gunfire begins immediately, and she runs forward, deflecting bullets from every side. Eventually the fire becomes so intense that she is forced to a halt, bullets raining on the shield that she is holding out in front of her. It is all she can do to stand her ground.
To me, this could not more clearly be the shield of faith, ‘with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one’ (Ephesians 6:16).
And as the enemy’s bullets finally run out and Diana’s comrades join her to take the territory so long unclaimed, Isaiah 54:17 rang loud and clear in my ears: ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper’.
The ground was only taken because she pioneered, enduring the battle so others could be freed. I remembered a promise the Lord had made me; that the trials I and others had been walking through would result in a greater anointing to see other people set free.
I felt God’s presence so strongly watching that scene that I sat back in my seat almost in tears.
In another scene, Diana destroys a tower which is the stronghold of the town, and defeats the enemy inside. After the stronghold is demolished, the town is set free. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says: ‘The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.’
And so the film went on.
I truly believe the messages in this film are needed right now. We live in times of increasing uncertainty. London, my city (and the city Diana travels to first), has for the past few months been a place of tragedy and terror.
We live in times of political instability. We live in times where proclaiming Christ will have you ridiculed and hounded out of public positions. If you don’t believe me, go and watch former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron’s resignation speech.
Women in the body of Christ (well, and men, if you’re reading this), you are needed right now. You have destiny and purpose. You are powerful because the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead lives inside of you.
You are born to bring hope and clarity to a despairing, directionless world.
You are born to overcome every battle and advance the Kingdom of God – a Kingdom of justice and of grace.
You are born to love an undeserving world because Jesus loved you when you were undeserving.
Ask God for eyes to see and ears to hear, that you would know more fully who and whose you are.
And go and see the film! Be encouraged by it as I was.
(P.S, fun fact – Gal Gadot, the film’s star, is Israeli, and trained in the Israeli army for two years. I thought this was pretty cool too.)