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  • Jul4Thu

    Who Was That Masked Man?

    The Lone Ranger's brand of justice reminds us to do good for its own sake. July 4, 2013 by Geoff Moulton
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    Faith & Friends
    The Salvation Army - - Review: The Love RangerThis month, one of the Old West's greatest heroes rides into cinemas across the country. In this latest retelling of The Lone Ranger legend from Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the masked hero once again teams up with his native American companion Tonto to fight injustice, with the fate of the Old West in the balance.

    The Making of a Hero
    John Reid (Armie Hammer) is returning home from law school back East when he gets caught up in a prison break on a train, as a group of outlaws free the evil Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner).

    A posse of Texas Rangers led by Reid's brother, Dan (James Badge Dale), takes chase. Crime-fighting runs in the Reid family: When Dan deputizes his brother as a Ranger to
    bring Cavendish to justice, he tosses him his father's old badge.

    Things take a bad turn when an ambush leaves all of the posse—including the Reid brothers—dead. That is, until John Reid wakes up dazed and confused, inexplicably perched atop a tall wooden structure on a cliff in the middle of the desert.

    After finding his way down, John encounters Tonto (Johnny Depp), the native warrior who tried to bury him with the rest of the Rangers before discovering he was somehow still alive.

    Tonto notes that while the Ranger posse had eight men, he only dug seven graves—meaning one of the Rangers betrayed the others. Tonto then gives his new friend a mask, saying, “People think you are dead. Better you stay that way. There come a time when good man must wear mask.”

    Reid makes a pact with Tonto: “If we ride together, we ride for justice.”

    Tonto replies, “Justice is what I seek, Kemosabe.”

    The pair track the man who killed Reid's brother, and their hunt eventually leads to greedy industrialist Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson), whose web of corruption extends to the railways and even to the U.S. Cavalry. Will the two unlikely heroes stop Cole before his untrammeled greed dooms the Old West?

    Saddle Up!
    The Lone Ranger is packed with non-stop action: derailed trains, exploding bridges and violent shootouts. One of the most exciting scenes involves a shackled Reid and Tonto fighting a group of outlaws on top of a runaway train. Tonto wants to jump off and get away, but Reid is determined to save the lives of the people on board.

    Heroism is a selfless act. In the Bible, Jesus warns, “When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4 CEV).

    Those who remember the original '50s television series know that the Lone Ranger's mask serves not just as protection but as an act of humility. By hiding his identity, the Lone Ranger becomes an “everyman” in the fight for truth and justice. At the end of every TV episode, when he rode away on his horse, people scratched their heads and asked, “Who was that masked man?” He was not seeking credit or fame, but rather was compelled to do right for its own sake.

    Do we seek justice for its own sake or because it makes us feel good and people will praise our bravery? God wants us to pursue justice because it is the right thing to do. The Bible reminds us, “We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). It's amazing to think that the Creator of the universe has plans for us. We were “created to do good works”—it's part of our life's purpose.

    Just as the Lone Ranger experiences a “resurrection,” the Bible reminds us that we were “dead in our sins” (see Colossians 2:13) until Jesus offered us a second chance at life. What we do with that is up to us. If we are wise, we, too, can be champions of justice, whether it's volunteering our talents, helping the needy or standing up to unethical practices.

    Are you ready for a life of adventure? If so, saddle up! It's going to be a wild ride.

    Hi-yo, Silver! Away!

    Tonto Reborn

    The inspiration for Johnny Depp's elaborate costume was a painting by artist Kirby Sattler entitled I Am Crow, which depicts a native American warrior with black-and-white face paint and a bird on his head. While some have suggested his portrayal of Tonto is culturally insensitive, Depp was ceremonially adopted into the Comanche Nation during filming as a sign of his respect for the role. Indeed, Depp vowed not to let his character be just a sidekick, and the film goes to great lengths to give the two heroes equal billing.

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