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Master of Two Worlds


This week we come to the second to last stage of the Hero's Journey.  Campbell called this stage "The Master of Two Worlds".  In this stage, the hero tries to integrate what they learned and gained on their journey with their old "ordinary" world.  

Albert Einstein once said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."  This explains the challenge the hero must face in this stage.  All that they learned and gained must be fully mastered and the test of this mastery is being able to use it in the ordinary world.  They must simplify it so that the uninitiated can benefit from it, just as Einstein encouraged the mastery of complex ideas into simple explanations.  

In the Star Wars Trilogy, this stage happens off-screen after the film is over, but before the new movie begins.  We learn in the newest trilogy that Luke created a school for Jedi, taking the wisdom he gained from his journey and sharing it with others.  In the Lord of the Rings, the hobbits return to their homeland, the Shire, and the heroes take on leadership roles in their community.  

In John 17, Jesus was praying and revealed that his followers were no longer of this world, but only in it.  Paul elaborated on this in Romans 12, telling us that we are to be in the world, but not of it.  Paul encourages us to be fully present to those around us but to be the new creatures that God has made us to be.  Paul talked about how he learned to be all things to all people in 1 Corinthians 9.  Paul was flexible with the way that he presented the gospel so that it was always said in the way that it would best be received.  This is the power that a Master of Two Worlds can wield.  

This is so much harder than it may sound at first.  I remember early in my Christian walk, I had encountered Jesus and it changed my life, but my friends did not understand.  To them, it looked like I had changed and it created tension and conflict.  I didn't have a mentor and I was unable to meet the challenge of being "in the world, but not of it".  In my case, I chose to leave my old world behind because I lacked the skills, at that time, to be the master of two worlds.  I had a much longer journey to go on first.  Today I can look back on several occasions where God has blessed me with opportunities to connect with those living in a world like my old world.  I am grateful for the opportunities to be my authentic self, the times when old and new world collide and I get to use skills and knowledge from both of those parts of myself.  If you find yourself in this situation just know that the time will come, but your journey may be a little longer first.  

God, refine in us the wisdom from our journey so that we can share it with others.  Teach us to be adaptable so that we can be all things to all people.  Give us the strength to be in the world, but not of it. Make us masters of two worlds.  Amen. 


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