If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon already, Pokemon Quest was just released on mobile a few months ago after its Nintendo Switch release! Prior to that, “Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!” was also released last November and Pokemon fans were going crazy because Pikachu SHOULD NOT have spoken English. Nope. Not at all. That slight rant aside, it is a loose retelling of the first season of the animated Pokemon series and a new movie is expected to come up this year as well! With all these exciting developments, (Wewew!) it’s gonna be another good year for Pokemon fans.
So, how does this link back to our faith? Well, read on fellow Pokemon trainers, and see how our journey towards being the very best that no one ever was, is similar to our journey together as one Body of Christ.
If you have no clue about what Pokemon is all about, get a life. Sorry I jest! But in short, the game is about you trying to collect all the Pokemons that exist in the region, make an incredibly powerful team of Pokemon and beat the Elite Four and Champion, the best trainers in the region. How do I liken this to the Body of Christ? Well, the team of Pokemon that you can create consists of only six slots. With the addition of new Pokemon types in the newer Generation of Pokemon, this task of creating the ultimate team is even more difficult. You not only need to get diverse Pokemon to cover one another’s weaknesses, but you need to make sure that you are able to traverse the land through the various moves of the Pokemon. To balance all this, quite frankly, can be a pain. However, I think that is what the Body of Christ is precisely.
“For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.” – Romans 12:4-8
We are all like these Pokemon that God has blessed with different gifts and charisms to fulfill the purpose of spreading the Gospel to the world and to keep one another in this Body of Christ growing ever closer towards God. Just like these Pokemon, we are not expected to be able to fulfill every single function nor to be strong in every gift and charism. Not even the Legendary Pokemon (probably the saints) were flawless. And yet, the amazing wisdom of God was to have a Body of Christ that could play to one another’s strengths and cover each other’s weaknesses that we may be able to function as one Church. And just like how the unity of the team depends on the Trainer, the Church is One because we are One in Christ.
It is also interesting that the goal of any (proper) Pokemon trainer is to catch ‘em all. This calls to mind 1 Timothy 2:4, which says that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”. I think it is super amazing to just realize that God doesn’t intend to leave any of us out. Even if we ourselves feel unworthy (maybe we think we’re like Rattata, super small and unworthy and common), He always reaches towards us and never stops until He has captured us all.
“O Seeker You sought for me. Your love has found me; I am taken by Thee” (Prayer of St. Augustine)
And lastly, I think the idea of naming your Pokemon and forming a special connection with them is amazing. Like seriously. God names and ordains EACH AND EVERYONE of us. Yep, He loves us THAT much. Just like how Ash chooses Pikachu (even though he could be a better trainer by actually choosing the proper Pokemon for the situation), God calls us each by name. Just like how Pokemon trainers strive to be friends with their Pokemon, God offers us His friendship too! Imagine – every time you wake up, God sends you forth and says “I choose you”, knowing full well (unlike a certain trainer named Ash) that you are the only one that could take on the role of you in this world. That you are a unique friend God has named and chosen.
So the next time you play Pokemon or watch it, just remember: just as the Trainer sends out his Pokemon – in all its strengths and weaknesses, confident in its ability and trusting in their relationship – God sends us out too, as one amazingly powerful Body of Christ, individuals united in His Love.
© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Gregory Adrian Gunawan