I worked with a young intern a summer or so ago. Part of what we did was go to movies together and then after discuss parallels between the movie and Christianity. It wasn’t easy at first for her. It was a new way of thinking. It involved being more mindful of what she was watching. Instead of simply thinking about whether or not she “liked” it, she learned to think about messages in the movie and to look for connections between the movie and her faith.
It was like when I took photography class in high school. Every year I’d seen pictures of eggs displayed by photography students and I didn’t get it. I mean, I thought some were cooler than others, but why an egg? When I took the class, I found myself taking egg pictures, but more importantly, I learned how to evaluate the egg pictures. I could think beyond whether it was cool or not, to evaluate if it was good or not. Was it clear? Did it have black blacks, white whites and grey greys? How was it composed? etc. etc. By the end of that class, my thinking had been so changed I couldn’t just see a picture without seeing its composition, without evaluating its merit as a work of art, far beyond whether or not I “liked” it. And when I did or didn’t like it, I could articulate why that was so.
This is what happened with my young intern and movies. After our summer together, she thinks differently about movies and entertainment. She can’t help but see connections to her faith. She can’t help but think about the overall message of things. She is more analytical and, she would tell you, she actually gets more enjoyment out of movies now because she has a richer experience watching them. She sees them in more depth.
The other day she emailed me. She had recently watched The Walk, the story of Philippe Petit who crossed the Twin Towers on a high wire. She had, on her own accord, written a movie review (just for the fun of it) and wanted to get my opinion on it. It was fantastic! I want to share it with you and point out a couple of things. First off, I want to point out that her review is different from mine and that is great! There isn’t a right or wrong interpretation, and both get us started on great discussions. Along those lines, I’m excited to see that she has learned to think for herself, NOT to think like me! Secondly, note the depth of her faith and her thinking and observations and realize that she is only 15 and that we only spent one summer working together. It was a small investment into a young mind, but look what amazing dividends!
The Walk – A Student’s Movie Discussion
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
Philippe Petit’s lifelong dream was to perform daring feats for awed crowds. The French daredevil made his dreams come true by learning to be a high-wire walker. Devising a plan to string a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Philippe Petit and his accomplices begin to prepare for the seemingly impossible coup. It was a feat that Philippe Petit accomplished on August 7th of 1974, gaining himself a reputation as a high-wire artiste.
I’m going to be perfectly honest: I am insanely afraid of heights. So scared that my whole body starts shaking even from the second story of our house. I hate elevators, because all I can ever think about is what would happen if it fell. Despite that, I tend to get myself in situations that I don’t really think through. Like going on Tower of Terror in California Adventure. And other roller-coasters. And climbing trees to the very top. I’ve been rock-climbing once or twice, both times not stopping until I reached the top. I’m really good at getting up high, but getting down is another story.
That said, this review might be a teeny, tiny bit biased because of my fear of heights. I don’t understand how anyone would possibly want to (intentionally) be a wire-walker.
Moments before Philippe Petit stepped out onto his wire, he lost his costume over the edge of the building. His costume consisted of all black – a black turtleneck, black pants, black belt, a top hat – an outfit that basically looked the part of a French artiste. And he dropped his shirt over the edge, “ruining” his costume.
“The biggest stage of my life, and I’ve lost my costume!” He cried out in agony.
I laughed, horrible, unfeeling human being that I am. It seemed like such a small thing to be distraught over.
His friend, on the other hand, knew just how important this was to Philippe, as the biggest performance of his life, and asked, “What should we do?”
“We do it. I will perform in this ridiculous undershirt.” Philippe answered.
While I’m sure there were many other aspects of the movie I could have written this review on, the frustration Philippe felt because he didn’t have the right costume to perform in stood out the most.
Everyone on earth, everyone who has ever lived on earth, is a sinner, with the obvious exception of Jesus Christ. As Christians we have been saved from the penalty of our sins through the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ.
Often, though, before someone feels like they can accept the gift of salvation, they feel like they have to get their act together. They don’t have the right “costume”. They aren’t at their best, and they feel like they should be before they hand their lives over to God. It’s a big deal, giving your life Christ. Without a doubt, it was the biggest (and best) decision I’ve ever made in my short fifteen years. Sometimes, with a decision that big, it feels like you have to look the part.
If we waited until we were perfect to let God intervene in our lives, we would wait an eternity. No one would ever be good enough, perfect enough, to meet with God. The costume of complete, utter perfection can never be achieved. Thankfully, God doesn’t need us to be perfect. He takes the dirty, messed up people that we are and cleans us up. He doesn’t care what costume we are wearing before we come to Him, because He is a forgiving, just, and loving God.
In Psalm 51:2, it says, “Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”
1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
And in 1 John 1:9, it reads, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
If we confess our sins and repent, God will take care of the rest. He will bring healing and restoration, cleansing and forgiveness. The costume we are wearing really makes no difference, because, in the end, the costume is not what matters. We just have to be willing to take that first step into the unknown, despite whatever fears and uncertainties are at hand.