The Basic Plot

Brothers and sisters,

I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but I love video games. I have loved them for as long as I can remember. I distinctly remember the overwhelming joy and excitement my brother and I felt when we got our first game console and our first two games – a Sega Genesis with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 & The Lion King. Since then, I’ve spent countless nights with friends playing round after round after round of Super Smash Bros, Phantasy Star Online, and Mario Kart. Games like those are wonderful because, well, they’re fun! But there is one series of video games that is my favorite. No contest.

The Legend of Zelda is a series of video games dating back to 1986 that, basically, tell stories of a hero, Link, and a princess, Zelda, who work together to defeat an evil sorcerer, Ganon, who threatens their homeland. As the player, you control Link, moving him through the world, fighting enemies, and solving puzzles. And each game in the series offers twists on the basic plot—sometimes Link has to travel through time, sometimes Link has to travel to a mirrored version of his homeland, sometimes the whole adventure was just a dream – but at the end of the game, Link has some kind of showdown with Ganon to save his homeland, with Zelda helping him take on Ganon. The story of each Zelda game is simple (good vs. evil) but each version of that story is told beautifully. Zelda games are consistently considered some of the greatest games ever made and they add one level of nuance that I love, that helps make them my favorite games. I want to write about that nuance as we continue with the pandemic.

One thing that I particularly love about the Zelda games is that they never ignore the other people in Link and Zelda’s world. In other words, while the main plot has to do with defeating Ganon, the player is encouraged to stop along the way and help the other characters you meet. The player is encouraged to commit small acts of kindness to help other people in the game. Sometimes that means finding a lost dog. Other times you’ll be encouraged help an overworked soldier find a gift for his son’s birthday. In one instance, you’re asked to simply listen as an older character tells you about their life. Though these things seem small and random, particularly when you consider the main plot, the Zelda series does a good job of communicating that fighting evil and holding on to hope are done with everyday actions. There is no act of kindness too small to make a difference. And it is always good to do the right thing.

I say all that because as the church enters an-other month of virtual services, it can feel like the pandemic is overwhelming. It can feel like there’s nothing that can be done in the face of Covid and its variants. But I would encourage you, throughout this week, to find small acts of kindness you can offer to someone else. Send someone a card telling them you’re thinking of them. Pay for someone else’s coffee in the Starbucks drive-thru. Tell an essential worker—doctor, nurse, cashier, server—that you appreciate them. No act of kindness is too small to make a difference. Everyone you meet is a child of God, fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, deserving of love, respect, and dignity. Everyone you meet is your neighbor (Luke 10:25-37). In the face of the pandemic, may we always love our neighbors. May we seek out chances to help others and do the right thing.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben