Sunday, July 29, 2007

That's the message - it hasn't changed

Joshua (2002)

Click on the link above to view the movie trailer for one of Steve and my all time favorite movies.
We first watched it about two years ago, shortly after attending the temple. The message we took from it was tolerance and love towards others. In chapters 11 and 12 Joshua and a priest he's befriended, Pat, are discussing a sermon Pat is trying to prepare on faith. Joshua uses various examples to show Pat how faith is. Towards the end of their evening together, Joshua takes Pat to what appears to be a "rock concert". After the end of Third Day's Come Together, a young man comes up to the mike and says, "Welcome to Lost and Found."
Puzzled, Pat turns to Joshua and states, "This is a cburch service?"
Without blinking, Joshua states, "One man's rock concert is another man's service." To us, this spoke loudly. After the service, we see Father Pat sitting down at his desk, obviously inspired, and writing his sermon.
To us, tolerance and love were the main themes and we only desired for others to show this to us as Latter Day Saints.
We haven't viewed this movie since leaving the LDS church - but now, it's almost as if a whole new message, while the same, is being taught to us. It's still about love and most importantly - unity. Unity of the body of Christ. Something we didn't exactly know or understand before leaving the church.
While watching the movie, Steve and I were amazed at how our eyes were open to the overwhelming amount of Biblical symbolism in the movie. We've seen this movie several times - however, never caught the symbolism that isn't directly addressed by a character in the movie (if you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about.)
This movie is so enriching, so powerful, so amazing - it's a must see for every believer. Steve googled the movie and found that it sadly only brought in 1.2 million at the box office - yet was 9 million to make. When the LDS movies, Work and the Glory came out - the first two experienced the same problem.

However, when the third movie in this series, "A House Divided" came out in theaters - Desert Book and many other LDS sources sent out several flyers, emails, and so forth to encourage members to attend so that the box offices would reflect that the public desired to see better movies. When Steve and I went to see this movie opening night in Las Vegas at the Suncoast, we were so overwhelmed by the sense of fellowship in that movie theater. At any moment, I expected my fellow Saints to begin singing hymns with the movie. It was amazing.

As a Christian community - we need to do the same thing. We need to support the good, decent, family movies that we want to see made.

The fellowship Steve and I felt when watching "A House Divided" we also feel when watching Joshua. With all the symbolism, all the various messages within it - we know this fellowship can be felt in a group setting. While watching the movie, Steve and I both felt so strongly that we should set up a movie night with friends and view this movie together. Then from this, discuss what was displayed in this movie and how it applies to our lives.

My favorite example of the subtle symbolism is when Joshua, a modern carpenter, creates a wooden heart and gives it to a married character named Joan. Her marital relationship is rocky at best, her husband and her constantly fighting. During one such fight, the husband becomes angry and throws the heart, breaking it. Meanwhile, Joshua is bringing the community together by rebuilding a destroyed Baptist church, an important endeavor to unite the community as one. However, when she comes to the building site and humbly asks Joshua to repair the heart, he gives her his FULL attention, wraps her in an embrace, and allows her to cry upon him. Afterwards, we see him healing this broken heart. What better place to be than in the arms of our Savior when our hearts lay broken, smashed in two? Who else better than our Savior to pray over us and heal us?

Once we have a study outline prepared, I'll post it here in my blog. If you live in Vegas and want to attend once we have it together - please let me know. We'll be serving a light dinner and if needed will provide childcare.

If you don't live in Vegas - I highly encourage you to seek out this movie at your local Blockbusters or other movie store to rent, or you can also purchase it from Amazon between $5.82 to $10.99. It's a movie you're family will enjoy again and again.

Taking one lesson from this movie now, I realize it's true message (although there are several ones). In an ending scene, Joshua is speaking with a Pope named Peter and says, "Deep in the hearts of so many people, there's an emptiness. That nothing of this world can fill, and that emptiness makes it impossible for them to love."
The Pope replies, "It's so overwhelming. What should I tell them?"
"Remind them, that I love them. That I died for them. Tell them that my love is real. And if they open their hearts to it, I will fill that emptiness and they will be able to love one another. That's the message, it hasn't changed. Tell them, tell them."
To any who read my blogs, yet are not believers - I want you to know, that Jesus' love IS real. It does heal. It does forgive. And it does fill that emptiness. In today's world - a message so simple, is often overlooked. Faith is simple, not complicated. Jesus is real, His love is real. And I pray, that you'll allow Him to fill you, heal you, and love you.

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