All told, my personal thoughts regarding cinema concerning matters of Christian faith: the greatest story ever told, ever written, ever imagined has been written by God and God alone. Doesn't it make sense that the most compelling, cliché moments in cinematic stories would align with the story God wrote?
To write any further would promote that very product against which I protest. Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18 ESV)
I feel like I’m never more acutely aware of the phenomenon until I feel a friend has left the ranks, that I'm abandoned, sold out; then I find myself slipping, letting go of what I know is right — and it frightens me. I know who I want to serve, I know what is right and what is wrong, but I can’t help feeling my feet slipping as the waves crash again, again, again across my feet: though they’re planted on the Rock, as my comrades leave my back and let go of my shoulders, I slip on the slippery foam coating the solid truth upon which I stand. I grow weary, cold as the winds whip about my salty, weathered body, the mist of surrounding waves dripping off my nose like so many tears. Down the shore I see another standing — resolutely — yet so many more fallen. But I hold bitterly firm, press on to stand on my Rock. But the greatest challenge of all remains that I not grow bitter or let my mind drift to the suffering, for in that fleeting thought I defeat myself — slipping silently into oblivion, just another drowning soul in the flooding onslaught.
What am I missing from my perspective, brow speckled in salted frost?
Just steps behind me, I’m breaking waves for a fallen fellow, another sentinel who slid in face of a terrible crash; not moments before, they broke the waves for me, and as I stand now, I stand with renewed strength, impassioned to guard my former guardian. Where once I struggled to gain back the slick, warm slab after losing my footing, behind the shelter of my brothers’ and sisters’ frames, now I stand at the front line to offer them a chance to again join the line!
Weariness overtakes us all at some time or another. There is no shame in losing our stance; shame grows from whether we take heart in our broken failure and climb, and in our unbreakable Spirit as we help our brothers and sisters out of the raging surf, back to the solid Rock on which we stand.
Take heart, for you are never alone.
therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who is laying as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’"
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, and all other ground is sinking sand — in certainty of His sovereignty, I choose to stand.
A poem by Adrian Plass
When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in, Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin. He said, your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink, Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen—I think. I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen, I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again? You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink, Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen—I think.
But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said, I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed. Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit, Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen—a bit. A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen, I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again? You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit, Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen—a bit.
Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy, Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy. That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow, So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen—tomorrow. Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen, I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again? You say that I will need to joy, to bear the pain and sorrow, Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen—tomorrow.
He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity, The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit, Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen—I quit. I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you, But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do. He said forget religion then, and think about my Son, And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.
Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go, Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know, Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear, To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear. And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end, The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend, Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry? When nails break your body-are you man enough to die? Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown, Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down, Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again? I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen.
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen;
Amen, Amen, Amen, I said,
Oh Lord, I’m frightened,
but I also said,
The night air was frigid, cold. In the dark, icy prison cell sat two young men, emaciated from loss of food and light. They had only one thin blanket between the two of them to protect against the freezing cold.
The hard floor beneath them was cruel and merciless, and the shackles around their ankles seemed to mock their pain. Yet in this arctic sanctuary of doom was heavenly warmth.
One of the two young men had a thought.
If that were Jesus next to me, would I give Him my blanket?
This man, who had nothing but a thin blanket to keep himself warm, recognized the privilege it would be to give what little he had to the God who had given him everything. He removed the blanket from around his shoulders and placed it around the shoulders of his shivering friend.
When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy
Jesus has already given the blanket to me, offered my comfort — he has long since passed from the cell, on to his heavenly reward. His love already warmed me, comforted me, lifted my spirits from the darkness.
If that were my future spouse next to me, would I give her the blanket?
Marriage presents the most beautiful manifestation of God's love on earth, the perfect portrayal of Jesus' marriage and sacrifice for His bride; by death on the cross, redeeming my sins and flaws, He set the example and precedent for men. As Christ loved us, so must men love their wives.
If that were my friend next to me, would I give him or her the blanket?
Of course human concern and bonding builds relationships past marriage, past God. A friend, an acquaintance from the office next door, the coffee barista from your morning routines, any of them worthy of a small sacrifice, at least maybe?
If that were the douche from high school next to me, would I give him or her the blanket?
No matter the person, no matter their history, we all share one thing in common: God formed us in the darkness, designed our every word, knew all our thoughts before they were and made us all to serve. No matter his or her darkness and failures, God made them and called them "good" as His work was complete.
With gracious mercy, love and care, God has captured our hearts with the greatest romance. Why despair or spite? We should likewise love.