Saturday, 15 March 2008

Seen any films lately?

Do you watch many films? My wife and I have a movie night and watch a DVD, normally borrowed from friends, most weeks. We've done this for 3 years or so now. I like adventures, my wife likes romance!

Someone lent us the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy recently. It has a rather bleak feel - there is an almost overwhelmingly powerful force of evil, countered only by a small band of friends. (Edit some time later: now that I have read the books and re-watched the films, I see that on my first watching of the films, I missed many of the subtle indications of hope).

Once you've watched a few dozen movies, some things become pretty clear.

The idea of a grand battle between good and evil is hard-wired into the human pysche. We have the idea that the world is not as it ought to be, and that it needs rescuing. We have the idea that evil is not just an ethereal and impersonal substance, but personal. We believe very strongly in some kind of perfectly pure and good hero who can pull off a wonderful rescue, even though none of us have ever met such a being in the flesh. We sense that history is not just meandering aimlessly through the shrubbery, but is heading towards a definite goal, involving a grand showdown between good and evil - in which evil will experience a final and utter defeat. If one thing is testified to with overwhelming certainty, it's that human beings believe in the reality of the unseen world - that we're not just a sack of chemicals.

Of course, there have been those who reject the Christian worldview and anything resembling it, and have put their atheistic beliefs into expression in art, culture and films. Such films have almost invariably been either dull as ditchwater, twisted and bizarre, or thoroughly repulsive; thankfully they're easy enough to avoid.

There's some kind of wonderful story in history, which human beings, no matter how godless, cannot erase their consciousness of. It keeps coming out - it has to, because we know it's there, even if the director couldn't put his finger on it and define it. There is a striving in the human spirit to get in touch with this reality, even amongst those totally clueless as to what it is.

The good news is that that story is only palely reflected in the world's films. It's better than all of them. We in the church already enjoy the mystery of the fellowship of the king as we travel along the way. Satan's strongholds are being taken down as the gospel advances, because in fact the ultimate battle has already been fought and our Lord has died and risen again. The return of the king awaits, and will be even better that we can ever imagine!

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