Back in the day, there was a word that was used to describe items that would ward off evil creatures. The word was and still is apotropaic. The idea is that garlic would keep away vampires, or the sign of the cross would keep away demons. The idea of vampires, werewolves, and other evil creatures dates back centuries in a variety of cultures around the world. There have been resurgences of this belief at different times throughout history. Sometimes there have been vampire scares so intense that they put entire countries into panic. Apotropaic paraphernalia becomes more desired during these times as people resort to superstitious beliefs in order to be prepared to keep these evil creatures away should they encounter them.
With the vampire craze that has swept the United States of America of late, you would think that this terminology would come to the forefront of our vocabulary. Sadly, the average American doesn’t posses a wide repertoire when it comes to the English language. It seems, though, that some entrepreneurial minded person would introduce this somewhat archaic word back into the mainstream lingo and look to turn a profit. After all, if we really have a vampire craze, and we do, then we should have something that people would buy to keep these vampires away.
The issue here is that the latest version of the vampire is not entirely evil. The portrayal of the vampire this time around is not an evil, repulsive, disgusting vermin trying to suck somebody’s blood. No, no. We have a coven of vampires created for the purpose of people being intrigued by them and admiring them. These vampires still drink blood and have all types of supernatural power which originates from dark forces as opposed to anything godly. Yet these vampires are portrayed as characters capable of loving, hating, protecting, and sometimes having a peaceful coexistence with humans. These dark, blood sucking parasites are being promoted in children’s books which are even winning awards for Children’s Book of the Year.
So given that these creatures are so attractive, why would anyone want to keep them away? There is no need for apotropaic items this time around. The idea is, don’t be afraid because a lot of these vampires are heroic. But even if some smart person comes along and reinvents the wheel, so to speak, this would only complicate the issue. The real issue is not how to keep away a vampire. The real issue is how to keep dark thoughts and ideas out of our hearts. There is something mysterious about things like Count Dracula, The Lost Boys, Children of the Corn, Twilight; and this latest craze is just the latest episode in humanity’s novella in their separation from a holy God that loves them incredibly.
The real issue is not to bring the word apotropaic back into our vocabulary. The crisis that we face is to realize that, whether or not we dwell on these dark ideas, our hearts are completely dark without the light of Christ. When we see a commercial for a vampire movie, or any movie with some dark theme that makes us either feel gross or engrossed or some combination of the two, we should realize that all of these things come out of the hearts of people who have a sinful condition just like ours. Our own hearts are capable of so much evil without God’s grace and His light to lead us in the paths that are holy.
So if you see some apotropaic paraphernalia being promoted somewhere, use it as an opportunity to lead people to Jesus Christ. There are evil creatures in the world. They are called devils or demons. They were once holy angels looking at God face to face in heaven. They have tricked us and tempted us into sinning against our Creator. But the wonderful thing is that the Creator became flesh and blood, dwelt among us, and then was offered up as a sacrifice for our sins. His blood was shed in order to redeem us completely from the curse of sin. Given that one of the central teachings of Christianity involves blood, it is no wonder that Satan would introduce a false doctrine about blood to confuse our young people. The true apotropaic is having the Spirit of Jesus Christ in your heart. Focus on the love of God as demonstrated by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead and you won’t want to think about any of these dark themes any longer.
If you haven’t done it yet, realize that you are a sinner separated from God. You have lived your life apart from Him doing whatever you want. Turn from your selfishness and believe on Jesus Christ. Stop trusting in yourself and trust Jesus as your Savior. He is perfect and died to save you. He also rose from the dead, defeating death so that we need have no fear of it. No dark force can stand against the children of light. If you believe and trust in Jesus Christ, you become a child of God, and can look forward to inheritance that can never be diminished. Let Christ be your Protector. He loves you. He died for you. He lives for those who trust in Him. Put your faith in Jesus and never be afraid of anything dark again.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman