Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The Passion of the Christ

If you haven't seen this movie yet, you should as soon as possible. If you didn't grow up with a Christian background, or if you are not familiar with the gospel stories, it would be a good idea to read them ahead of time. If you are unfamiliar with any of it, I would recommend the gospel of John first. Otherwise, Matthew, Mark, or Luke will do nicely.

If you have seen it, how did you react? Give it some thought. Most people, when they put aside their cynicism, do not walk away from an encounter with Jesus unchanged. (Note to theologians: I know that this was a film, and it was James Caviezel on the screen, not Jesus. I'm not making an idol of the film. Rather, recognize the importance of the visual medium of storytelling in today's western culture.)

One thing I found fascinating was the audience. With rare exception, as soon as the Roman scourge began, people fell silent. Eating stopped. Talking stopped. All attention was focused on the screen. This silence remained for most until they were outside the theater.

Another point of interest is the accusation of anti-Semitism against the film in general, and Mel Gibson in particular. I don't think Mr. Gibson is an anti-Semite, but I will say no more about that, as I do not personally know the man. As for the film, I have to wonder what movie the critics saw, becasue there is nothing anti-Semitic about it.

For myself, I was initially puzzled that I did not react as emotionally as I thought I should at the experience. But I found that in the days following the film, up to the present, I am continually reviewing my own relationship with Jesus, and wanting there to be more of Him and less of me in my life each day. It's not profound, but I think it's important all the same.

If you want to know more, just go see the movie. (Or, go see it again.) Ask God to show Himself to you. Then open your eyes and ears and pay attention.


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