Vindicate me, LORD,for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me,examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness (Psalm 26:1-3).”
The Vikings in Berk are typical. They are warriors.
They actually seem to feed on the attacks of dragons on their town, making the battles a kind of contest. They even train their youngsters to fight them. Becoming a dragonslayer means you are a true Viking.
This is the culture portrayed in the movie “How to Tame Your Dragon”. I watched it on Thanksgiving with my family.
The main character in this film is an adolescent boy who is the son of the village chieftan. The young man’s main problem is that he wants to be a dragon killer, but those around him think he doesn’t have what it takes, including his own father.
Indeed, the boy’s name “Hiccup” reflects the view held of him by others. He is an afterthought, even an annoyance.
Hiccup has a lot of inner guts, however. Despite the opinion of others, he is determined to become a real Viking. One night he takes some action he things will help him gain acceptance.
In one of the dragon attacks, at night, Hiccup uses a rope contraption to bring down a dragon no one has ever seen. It is the mythical and dangerous Night Fury.
Hiccup doesn’t realize what he has done until he finds the wounded beast in the forest the next day. Unable to move with ropes around it, the Night Fury is ready to be slain.
However, Hiccup finds he just doesn’t have the ability to plunge the knife in. Finally, giving up, he sets the dragon free. The dragon can’t fly, though, because one of its wings has been damaged.
Hiccup proceeds to befriend the dragon, taking steps similar to other animal trainers, such as horse whisperers. Soon the dragon, who Hiccup calls “Toothless” are buddies.
Hiccup creates an artificial wing for Toothless and begins to fly on him. He eventually is discovered by Astrid, a girl who he likes, but who is the warrior he is not. Hiccup brings her around to his side through a fantastic flight, including a visit to the lair of the dragons.
Eventually, Hiccup teaches his peers in dragon training to pacify the animals, not kill them. This leads to a successful raid on the lair of the dragons,where a huge beast inside a volcano-like mountain controls and enslaves them to do his bidding.
Hiccup and Toothless lead the massive dragon on a high speed chase which it can’t come out of. The dragon is destroyed, but Hiccup and Toothless are injured.
The movie ends with Hiccup being awakened by Toothless inside his home. Hiccup discovers he now has an artificial foot. but also learns that the townspeople have all come around to his viewpoint. They no longer believe that killing dragons is what makes them true Vikings.
Insteasd, they have befriended the dragons and ride them around town. They are like pets now to these former bloodthirsty people.
Hiccup has become a hero. He has won the respect of his father, and his love Astrid, too!
The apostle Paul’s story is similar to that of Hiccup. He is well known by his own people. He was the equivalent of a Viking in his culture: He was a zealous, legalistic Pharisee. In fact, he sought to persecute, even kill Christians, which was prized among his peers.
However, Paul has chosen a different means to God. He has decided to follow Jesus Christ as the means to a relationship with His Heavenly Father.
This is too much for Paul’s former friends, especially since he used to persecute Christians. Now they have had him brought up on trumped up charges in front of the Romans, to whom he tells his story (Acts 26:1-29).
Paul has turned his world upside down (Acts 17:6). He has gone against his own beliefs and culture.
It’s a good thing he stood fast. We believers today owe the apostle Paul a huge debt of gratitude for sticking to his guns and persevering through trial to bring the true gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
In our own way, we all have a little Hiccup and some apostle Paul in us. God has gifted us a certain way, and communicated specific messages to us, ones meant just for us. He wants us to turn our own worlds, our own cultures, upside down.
Sure the going will be rough and there will be opposition. In the midst of it God is faithful, and on the other side of all of that, there is the love, respect and vindication of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have our own dragon to tame, the ancient one Satan, who has the whole world under his grasp. We are not to befriend him, but we should reach out to those in his snare, using the means God has given us.