“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables…” – Matthew 13:1-2
This Sunday, we began a new sermon series called At the Movies. It is one of our favorite sermon series at Table of Grace. It combines our love of movies and Scripture in interesting ways. There are two reasons why we do this series. First, it actually makes us better at reading our Scriptures. The Bible is full of stories about people of faith and even Jesus told stories to reveal the Kingdom of God. It is not always easy to read the Scriptures and understand what they are telling us, but we are familiar with movies. While we may not analyze every movie we watch, we certainly pick up on themes and are drawn to certain kinds of stories. These stories help us learn more about God, the human condition and the salvation offered through Jesus. In particular, movies allow us to consider how God is at work in our everyday life as we reflect on the Scripture, the movie and our own story.
The other reason we do this series is it invites us to have more spiritual conversations. Looking at movies and considering the presence of God, the human condition presented, and the solutions offered allow us to reflect on how God is present (or not present) in a story. We all love stories. We share stories with our friends, we read them in books, and we watch them in movies. Stories allow us to share experiences that we otherwise would not have known about. Movies are a particular way we can have spiritual conversations with other people in our life. Movies can be the context to have nonthreatening and encouraging conversations with those closest to us.
Consider the movies that have made an impression on your life. What were the themes present? Who was the hero or villain? How was the human condition presented and what was the solution to the problem? I think that you will find the movies that you are most drawn to reveal an aspect of God that you are also drawn to. Perhaps it is a moment of forgiveness, a person overcoming a challenge, a moment of sacrifice, or an act of love. I believe this is the grace of God pointing us toward the author of the truest story you and I will ever find – that you are a child of God. May you know that truth no matter where you find it.
Rev. Chad McSwain