The larger picture
Rev. Clay Faulk
Recently on Facebook, I was asked to name my favorite movies. What are your favorites? Can you think of them quickly? I remember when I was a teen, the newest and coolest movie quickly took the jump to number one. But now, I think back about all the movies I have loved. The movies that made me laugh like Caddyshack, Dumb and Dumber, or Airplane. The ones that touched my emotions like Saving Private Ryan, Rocky, Braveheart, or Field of Dreams. The ones that we all watch again and again; The Shawshank Redemption, The Wizard of Oz (my favorite), Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Gladiator and so many others. We all have our favorites too, like horror, westerns, war, comedy, action, or even an occasional chick flick. My question is, “Why do we love these movies?”
All of our favorite movies have something in common. A story!
There are heroes, danger, love, romance, sacrifice, good verses evil, and always some goal to be obtained that seems to be a long shot.
As author John Eldredge says in his book “Epic,” “… all great stories pretty much follow the same story line. Things were once good, then something awful happened, and now a great battle must be fought or a great journey taken. At just the right moment a hero comes and sets things right, and life is found again.”
The story seems to speak to our internal souls because they are part of our makeup, part of our DNA. These stories flow from the Story of God. It is the Biblical story rewritten, repackaged, reinvented over and over and over again. There are just slightly different twists in the scheme of things. From the Matrix to E.T., there is no shortage of a deep desire to overcome the reality that is death to experience new life and toss death aside like a rag doll. When the resurrection scene occurs, it is dramatic and even emotional. This story line can be seen even in this summer’s hit “Transformers 2” where those on the side of good literally need a resurrection to occur in order to win the battle. I believe we love these movies because they tell us what we know deep inside, we too are part of a larger story. We too have a future unfolding before us that is about a good creation that has run amuck and is in the process of being corrected. We see glimpses of God. We see glimpses of what life might be like if we were free from this world of stained beauty. We see, often in other people and sometimes in ourselves, heaven and the future God holds for us. Loving one another and being in a place of peace and delight with a God who we genuinely cares for us and whom we genuinely love and find joy in His presence.
For me, here is the really cool part. The Story, the Biblical Story was written not only to tell us about people like Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Paul, and of course the hero, Jesus, but it was written to tell you about you. That’s right. We have a God who loves to tell stories. God loves the drama, laughs at the humor, cries at the tragic, suffers for the suffering, and who lives life with us, yet knows how the story ends in victory over the villain. In the same way that Star Wars is an epic about the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader), so too the Bible is a story about the creation, fall, battle, and restoration of our world. Author Eldredge reminds us of these three points. 1) We must realize that all is not as it seems, 2) We are at war with Satan and his demons, and 3) God has a part for each of us to play in His Story. We are to realize that in our daily lives we must always cling to the truth and be an ally to our beloved leader, God.
If you have never thought of yourself as being part of a bigger picture, let me encourage you to see yourself as a vital part of the Story. If you will ask God to lead you, God will present opportunities for you to make a difference on His part. At first, it might be a simple smile to others but you will find your part will grow into a larger role. Who knows what a difference you can make? In fact, YOU can change the world… unbeknownst to us now, but all in accordance with The Story. Until next time, Blessings!
[Rev. Faulk lives in Bridge City and is pastor of Providence Church]