Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Parables and Movies

In a couple of weeks I plan to present a lesson on the Prodigal son. I love that parable! I love the picture of the father looking for his son, hoping he'll return, and looking for the opportunity to forgive him. The irony of the parable is that it's really not about the wayward son, and as much as I love the description of God as the father, he's not the focus either. The context seems to show that it was about the older brother, the one who truly didn't know his father or realize what a wonderful relationship he was missing out on - even though he stayed home. Jesus was trying to help the religious leaders realize their detachment from God. They were the older, self-righteous brother, and they needed to get past good works and move toward a deep relationship with the Father. I thought of this as I watched Lord of the Rings this past weekend. Yes, all three, mostly late evening, and even some of the special features. It's the second time since seeing them at the movies, and I'm finally starting to understand most of it, or at least get the names straight. You know what? You don't have to understand everything or even remember the names of everyone to appreciate the wonderful message of friendship. I love the growing relationship between the Fellowship of the Ring. I love the emphasis on loyalty, courage, and sacrifice. When you watch it looking for all the unselfish acts of friendship, it becomes an amazing portrait of commitment and love. I'd use some examples if I could remember the names, not to mention spell them correctly. What does this have to do with the Prodigal Son? I think the argument could be made that The Lord of the Rings is not about Frodo, the carrier of the ring, but about Sam, whose friendship and loyalty was totally unbreakable. There are several times in the movies when I find myself getting teary eyed, but when Sam tells, Mr. Frodo "I can't carry the ring, but I can carry you" and he proceeds to carry him up that mountain - well, it gives me chills just thinking about it.

I thank God for the good friends He has given me through the years. There have been many who I know would carry me up the hill, and many I would carry or die trying. That's an awesome blessing. What more could anyone hope for in life than to have a loving family and loyal friends? It's especially wonderful when that friendship includes our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. That's a ring of fellowship that will last a lot longer than this life.

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