by Rev. Rich Heinz
One of the many threads running through the plot of this summer’s blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises, is a computer program codenamed “Clean Slate.” This program is supposedly able to take just a little information about an individual and completely erase any record of him/her on any computer throughout the world. In essence, giving him or her a “clean slate” so that one could escape or start over. No criminal records. No credit reports. No driving tickets. However, it also means no bank records. No insurance. Nothing.
This could be used for evil, robbing others of their identity, and plundering what is rightfully theirs. Or it could be used for good, forgiving and getting someone on a fresh start in life. No matter what, an almost god-like quality is given to whoever possesses the program.
The mastermind criminals in The Dark Knight Rises are seeking the “Clean Slate” to engage in some massive stealing, and wiping out any trace of the proper owners of what is taken. Perhaps they will even frame others as they do it. There is a definite superior attitude that comes from the arch villain, who would gladly wipe any traces of his victims and plunder from the innocent, whom he views as evil.
Stop for a moment and ponder the real-life connection. Not one of you is innocent. You are evil, by your fallen, sinful nature. You are just as wicked as any criminal mastermind. You are just as deserving of hell as the real-life deranged gunman who attacked film-goers. And the catalog of sin that follows your names in the divine database of the mind of God would be horrifyingly damning.
But the Lord in His boundless love does not want that for you. He has sent His Son to be your absolute and perfect Hero, who has rescued you from sin, death, and hell. He has purchased and won your salvation, sacrificing Himself and dying in your place on His cross. And now, He provides you with a clean slate. He removes all record of your sin and guilt. You have a fresh start.
“Daily [you] sin much,” the catechism reminds you. True. But your dear Lord Jesus has taken care of that. He sends His Spirit to bring you to repentance, and removes all record of sin. Your identity as a poor, miserable sinner in the sight of God is gone! He constantly gives you the fresh start from that clean slate, gifting you with the identity of God’s own child, baptized into Christ!
Christ is risen. And thanks be to God! The Risen Lord comes in His Holy Gospel and Sacraments, bringing you the forgiveness, life, and salvation that give you His clean slate!
Rev. Rich Heinz is pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church & School in Chicago, IL. He is also Worship Coordinator for HT conferences. Pastor Heinz even before becoming a Star Wars geek has long been a Batman fan. He experienced the entire Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy on the night of July 19-20.