Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The 9 Most Influential Films of My Life: #3

Amongst a sea of emo-sports flicks like "Little Giants", "The Mighty Ducks", "The Big Green", "Air Bud", and "Angels in the Outfield" -- only one film~soul dared to rip my youthful 'heart out of my ass'.  There can be only one Lord of the sports' ring. 

"Cool Runnings" means 'Peace be the Journey', the very slogan I have borrowed every time I conclude an email.  I think it runs parallel to the way the Apostle Paul often wraps up his letters to the churches:

Romans 15:33: Now the peace of God be with you all.  Amen.

2 Corinthians 13:11: Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Ephesians 6:23: Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:9: "The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

2 Thessalonians 3:16:  "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.  The Lord be with you all!"

 Why are Paul's letters to the budding churches infused with such talk of peace?  I think the answer is because this world is destined to fall away.  Our great strivings will amount to nothing, for what is man's breath?  We toil, we quarrel, and work to build for ourselves lives that have both purpose and brilliance.

Disney films instill in our children the ethics of hard work and social mobility.  Well, that's all well and good, but the reality is that most of the time our hard work will not live up to the expectations we assign to it.  At other times, external forces completely out of our control will tear our work apart.  Furthermore, evil men seek to defile your work -- and in time they will do so successfully.  In this world, we are lying to ourselves if we think that evil doesn't prevail most of the time.

"Cool Runnings" may be schlocky, but I instinctively connected to its rhythm as something resonant. Genuine.  Even at seven years of age, I had watched myself not be as cool as a kid as I wanted to be.  I wasn't the best soccer player, my friends had more trophies than me (my goodness, did I ever have some deep envy issues early on!), and I couldn't ever beat the Sandman on 'Super Punch Out'.  I had experienced loss.  I knew its bitter taste.  And so, when four Jamaican bobsledders fail to win Olympic gold, I recognized that as something I could relate to.  I've never lived happily ever after, I've never seen a blue fairy, and I haven't known the girl of my dreams (in the Biblical sense). 

What I witnessed in "Cool Runnings" was the same thing I read in "Where the Red Fern Grows".  Pain exists.  Failure lives.  And these devils won't be going away anytime soon.  Success will come and go, just like money and fame.  But as cheesy as it sounds, God is interested in my character, more than any litany of good deeds hanging on the mantle. 

This world is broken.  This world is broken.  Say it again until it sticks: this world is broken.

We must invest our efforts into the strength of our character, rather than the shine of our monuments.  Little of what we do will ever matter.  Once the cure is recognized and obeyed, the journey begins.  The shedding of the material worldview is a difficult idea to embrace, but it is crucial in an appropriate understanding of how to overshadow failure with triumph.  The Lord will see us through it.  Let us walk through life in peace, knowing that the redemption of this earth is certain, and not our burden to bear.

 Peace be the Journey, indeed.

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