I can honestly say that movies have changed my life. Sitting in a darkened room and having a story told with actors, musical scoring and masterful editing has educated, inspired and assisted me in processing my opinions and feelings. Having said all that, I hardly ever go to the movies any more. I was reading a magazine yesterday highlighting all the upcoming summer films and found them all to be action heroes and animated blockbusters. Neither genre motivates me to leave the comfort of my easy chair. When I read current film reviews, I almost never feel enthusiastic about attending and even if I do, by the time my schedule permits, the film has left the local theatre. I do watch television and find that programing to be exciting and enlightening regarding the current mood of the culture. But television series drag story-lines over months and months to sustain interest. There is something satisfying about sitting down and being told an entire story in one sitting.
Last night I watched a movie with my mother that was completely engrossing. It was made in 1998 with Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage entitled “City of Angels.” The film presents this idea that there are unseen angels roaming around us wearing long black duster coats and periodically assisting us in dangerous moments. Meg Ryan is a physician who is at the beginning of an existential crisis when she crosses some cosmic barrier and sees an actual angel played by Nicholas Cage. He falls in love with her and their romance is electric and mystical. The screen is filled with their eyes and faces and the ideas presented in the film are layered and weighty. Moment after moment is wonderful but there is one line that keeps echoing through me regarding faith. The angel and the physician are having a preliminary conversation about God and the Doctor states that she does not believe and the angel replies, “some things are true, whether we believe them or not.”
In a way, this feels like the message of Jesus; his content was unbelievable to the people of his time and ultimately dismissed and discarded. How often do we miss the truth and opportunity of the moment because it is inconvenient or difficult to understand? I often warn my parishioners about listening only to those whose point of view rests easily within our own convictions and prejudice. As we judge, as we select, as we categorize, are we missing the possibility of the authentic sacred in our lives simply because we don’t choose to accept that which is unfamiliar? Is not one of the most wondrous facets of our God, the infinite possibilities offered in every fragment of our lives? Up to now I have been clinging to my opinions as the foundation I function upon. Now I feel the Spirit moving me to let go of so many of my comfortably restrictive points of view and dwell in the unknown and even undesired. For truth and wisdom may sometimes exist beyond what I already know.
For some things are true whether I believe them or not.