Paul writes the following to the church at Thessaloniki. "13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Watch "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and you will see what it looks like to grieve with no hope. This is a movie which came out a few years ago starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Or perhaps watch the episode of Glee where Cory Monteith (Finn) dies and you will see what grief with no hope is like. However, for the person who trusts Christ grief has hope. Why? The Grave is Empty. We don't have to go around and grieve with no hope. To trust Christ is to find life, true life both now and in death. Death was defeated that first Easter. The Resurrection changed everything!!!
So what does this look like? Perhaps you have lost a child, a parent, a grandparent and you are filled with grief. You know they had a relationship with Jesus but the shock and pain of death has been too much. Sometimes we need to see a story in order to help us with our story. If you click on this link it will take you to a video. Zac Smith was a Staff member at New Spring Church in South Carolina. He battled cancer and lost. He leaves behind a wife and 3 kids. This a 20 minute video but I hope it will help you to see a follower of Jesus grieve with hope. http://newspring.cc/blog/stories/the-smiths
May God help us as we understand eternity and grieve as people who have hope because Christ is Risen!!
Last summer I attended a conference in which an interview was conducted with Mark Burnett. If you have ever watched Survivor or The Apprentice you see his name at the end of the show as the Producer. He talked about the struggle of getting a network to show "The Bible" miniseries. He also told us that when something becomes popular Hollywood jumps on board. Think about it. How many zombie and vampire movies have there been in the past few years. Enough said.
So here we are in a time when the Bible or Biblical themed movies are becoming increasingly more present. In fact there will be 5 faith based movies released in a 4 month span starting with Son of God and ending with Mom's Night Out. But we must understand that not all movies are created equal. We need to be wise in the way we approach each film and we must be able to think critically about each one.
This past weekend my family decided to pass on Noah in favor of God's Not Dead and I will explain why. I read many reviews about Noah and read some very disturbing things which have since been confirmed by more people I know who have seen the movie. On the other hand everyone I know who has seen God's Not Dead has raved about it. So what is the real difference between these 2 movies? Truth. While it is true there is little written about Noah at least be truthful to what is written. From the Rock People to Tubal Cain hiding on the Ark they got much wrong. I have had people tell me I don't know what I am talking about and I can't expect Hollywood to get a Bible Story right. Is that where we are right now. We want so badly to be on the big screen we don't care how the story is butchered to get us there? We should not be surprised. An proclaimed Atheist did this movie so we can't expect someone who doesn't even believe in God to tell God's story. God's Not Dead on the other hand reflected biblical truth and told a good story in the midst of that reflection. So we are going to have to pick and choose and do so wisely.
You will have other chances to choose this spring. Heaven is for Real is getting a lot of buzz and I imagine a large opening weekend. We have to think through critically the story being told to see if it is accurate and true to Scripture. Yes there are places to take artistic creativity and freedom, but not when it changes the heart of the story.
So may we be careful in our desire to make the big screen to not compromise the heart of the story. May we ask questions and think critically rather than acting like mind numb robots going to a movie because a Bible character is in it. And May we recognize we don't need to improve God's story we simply need to tell it to a world in darkness.
Jesus Follower, Husband, Father, and Pastor and trying to keep those in the right order....