I am a Christian, so I tend to look for and see God in
everything—especially in stories.
Every story requires a main character. He or she is the one
who changes the most because or in spite of the circumstances of the action.
There MUST be change for there to be a compelling story.
Becoming a Christian, by definition, requires change as
well. The Bible says you must repent (turn around) from your ways to follow
Jesus. What does this have to do with movies this week? Well, I’ll tell you.
There is a movie “at a theatre near you,” as they say, that
got my attention. It tells a story of a group of townspeople encountering
extreme evil, face to face. The focus is on two men, a leader of town, and an
outsider, who loath each other. Both of these men raise fear in others because
of their power and their pasts. They begin the tale with cold hearts.
When the evil not only reveals itself to the community but
also destroys it outright, these men must join forces and lead a remnant of survivors
to battle for their families’ survival. The demons they face “out-gun” them in
practically every way.
I cannot give away the twist or the ending, so I won’t even tell
you the name of the movie, but the actors’ portrayal of change is touching. One
of the men finds change by seeking what is really inside him. The other man’s
heart softens when he opens his eyes to how others see him, both the good and
the bad. The men take very different journeys, but do so side by side.
When it comes to their battles with the enemy, though, the
men discover that their efforts come up short. They don’t have enough. They
aren’t strong enough. They don’t know enough. They cannot win. They need a
hero, a savior.
As in all good stories, a savior arises. There is death,
yes. There is also resurrection. What? I said it; this story includes
The hero for these people was with them all along. The
sacrifice their savior makes inspires them to fight on, and win their battles
against evil. They know, because of the ultimate gift offered on their behalf, that
the war is won.
At the end, hearts break and are restored. The men change
their hard ways. They take their second chance and embrace it with gratitude.
Life is good, and the credits roll.
This message of a savior and of change may be lost on many
because of the action, explosions, and special effects. But special effects,
without a story, mean nothing.
I want to challenge you, as you watch all the blockbusters
offered this summer, to look for the stories of change and redemption. When you
discover them, you see the film and the message within, in a new light.
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema! Thanks for reading!