When I was a teenager, Suzanne Collins' trilogy, The Hunger Games came out. These books FLEW off shelves and caught the attention of many, both their intended audience of teens, and so many more. The books became so popular that they were adapted into film.

The Hunger Games trilogy are dystopian novels, following the life of Katniss Everdeen, a teenager who lives in District 12, the poorest region of Panem. Each year, as punishment for rebelling, two young people from each district participate in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death. The last person alive wins food and resources for their district and the honor of having won. This game is broadcast live and is mainly for the entertainment of the wealthy people in the Capital who are not forced to compete in the games.

I read these books and saw all of the movies. When I studied abroad in Spain, I tutored English and my student would read The Hunger Games to me to practice pronunciation and to expand his vocabulary. These books were so popular! It seems that often dystopian literature and film are popular with audiences. Why is that? What is it about viewing worst-case scenarios of the world that is so enticing? Why is it that I can name a variety of books, movies, and television shows that are dystopian, but very few that speak of a utopia, a perfect place?

For those of us who claim a Christian faith, how might we imagine or describe utopia? What qualities would make it that? I think about the part of "The Lord's Prayer" and think about what it would mean for earth to be "as it is in heaven." Take some time to imagine what that looks like, what it means, what sounds, images, and feelings come to mind when you think of this. On Sunday, together, we will explore Acts 4:32-35 and the ways in which early communities of faith sought to prepare and create a community that was a little more utopia than dystopia.

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