I am an avid student of film. The stories told through cinema express the creative message of actors, writers and directors. I have classic favorites like Bringing Up Baby with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Several Hitchcock movies are also at the top of my list: Rebecca, The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes among them. The original Star Wars trilogy is still the best in the series. I have favorites in nearly every genre. And each year, I look forward to adding more movies to the list.
In my Introduction to the New Testament course, the professor gave us a different kind of final project. We were invited to use a familiar reference point to describe each book of the New Testament. One student, because he loved cartography, presented the books through the places traveled, literally a road map of the New Testament. Because I love films, I selected films as the foundation for my description.
God still moves in us and with us in more ways than we will ever know or understand. As I watch new movies, I can’t help but see (whether it is intended by the filmmakers or not) how our Lord is speaking through this art form.
One of the last films I saw in movie theaters was Knives Out. It is a tribute to classic whodunnits with a modern twist. The viewer is introduced to the complex family dynamics which possibly contributed to the murder (or suicide) of the patriarch. A second story that is interwoven with the family relationships, is one of loving kindness and devotion.
No spoilers here. The elements of the loving kindness are what spoke to me of God’s presence in the lives of these fictional characters, and in our lives as well. The relationship between this patriarch and one person was shown through the little ways they shared time together, had conversations and truly were present with one another.
I saw all of this before COVID-19 arrived to change our routines. Still, I want to ask, how are we sharing loving kindness with one another? I understand that visiting people in their homes is not possible, at present. How are we staying in touch with our congregants? How are we making new connections, to begin new relationships? Are we contacting family, friends and colleagues to help them know God is with all of us during these unpredictable times? Have we encouraged others to do the same for us?
I know that many of us have taken to social media as one way of creating spaces for conversation and connection. Zoom, Google Chat and other programs exist for small groups to gather together virtually. These times also invite us to be innovative about how we stay connected.
A couple weeks ago, Hugh Downs, passed away. In one of his roles at ABC, he was a long-time co host of 20/20. As I watched a story about his life, I remember his sign-off from that show. I wish to share it with you as we seek ways to continue to support one another during this time. “We’re in touch, so you be in touch.” And Amen.