I love watching movies. They are a fun, easy way to decompress and be entertained.
Some might view sitting in front of a screen, whether it's a gigantic wall in a theatre or a modest sized glass pane in the living room, as passive activity.
One movie experience with me will quickly change your mind.
I am a very active participant.
I talk back at the TV, scream in the scary parts, and laugh with a snort a few seconds after each joke.
Yep, that's me behind you -- popping in crunches of crispy, buttered popcorn in between every scene.
I've found that drama doesn't only flicker through light passing through celluloid.
No, it turned up one morning when Light shot through the pages of Scripture.
I was struggling through a season of feeling isolated with some baggage I had been carrying. It was a tough week, as I seemed to trip over the same old insecurities that lingered from bad experiences in the past.
It was one of those weeks where you feel like things just never seem to change. I can never change.
You know the feeling?
When you talk yourself into thinking everything is just rotten?
My life is heading nowhere... I'm a horrible parent... No one wants to be my friend...
It was in this deflated mode that I found myself sitting in a room full of coffee-woken attendees of a workshop, Meditate on Scripture, led by Christian author Jan Johnson.
We were asked to practice, right then and there, one of the primary methods of meditating on Scripture: the Movie Method.
The Movie Method
The Movie Method involves reading a passage several times, by putting ourselves in the scene of the story, and taking on different characters' perspectives, absorbing all the sights, sounds and textures.
The purpose was to zero in "our" character, the one that speaks to us.
Okay, I get this, I thought. I looove movies!
We were given a very familiar passage to ruminate on.
It was the story of the father who brings his son, possessed by an evil spirit, to Jesus and cries out, "I do believe; help my unbelief!"
As I disappeared inside myself to meditate on the text, I thought that I had already found my character.
It was obvious. I was like the father who didn't have enough faith, right?"
"No." God answers.
Fifteen minutes into our quiet time, Jan interrupts us and says, "Now that you've read the passage for yourself, I want you ask God what He wants you to get from the story."
Closing my eyes, I dive back into the Word, whispering, What do you want to say to me, God?
As I read again, one word caught my heart: corpse.
The Bible says that when Jesus commanded the spirit out of the boy who was deaf and mute, the exorcism was so violent, "the boy looked like a corpse to many."
My lips trembled as I was cut to the core: I was the corpse.
I've tried to drive out my demons. They've thrown me to the ground, terrified me, gnashing it's teeth, taking away my words.
I've been rendered mute and deaf.
I did not feel like the life-giving person God says I'm purposed to be. I wasn't the beautiful, fruit bearing, flower budding spirit I felt I should be.
But, Jesus knew better.
Others, including myself, may have been fooled by my corpse-like features.
The world thinks that inactivity and unseen beauty are only good for backdrop, a side story, while others take center stage.
Just One Touch
Jesus knows we're not dead.
One touch from Him, freedom and beauty pours out of us, bringing us back to life.
As we hear our Shepherd speak gently, we won't be able to stop the words. We'll hear His whispers, singing, and conversation, spilling out in everyday life.
Stories will arise out of our moments and memories. We will be strengthened and fed, to our heart's delight.
We will have our fill and more, to love once again, to share and laugh.
Those who thought us dead once before will be amazed.
They will see us stand and smile, with the hand of Christ, clasped in ours.
"Many said, "He's dead." But, Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up." Mark 9:26-27
I was once deaf and mute. Now, I hear and speak.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17