Summer 2022 has begun. Each year Hollywood studios seek to bring us films that will break box office records and set new standards for the best movies of this (or any) Summer. I can’t possibly list all of the movies that have changed my Summers, but I offer a few
Each of these films, and many others, changed the way I think about the world. Thanks to a scary movie about a giant shark, only known as Jaws (1975) I have never swum in the ocean. Because of Superman (1980), I believe a man can fly. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” brings images of space battles and sword fights together. Babe (1995) and Finding Nemo (2003) were just fun ways that animals discovered their own purpose in the world. Inception (2010) was mind-bending, to say the least. And this year, as we return to theatres, the competition is as exciting as ever.
I have been a student of filmmaking since I was in my early teens. That’s when a number of t.v. stations began broadcasting classic films. Critics, historians, and those who shaped Hollywood in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s also began chronicling their experience with the studio system, and the rise of independent actors, production companies, and independent conglomerates.
I never tire of watching and rewatching some of these and other blockbuster movies. There are other films, which have resonated with me, though they may not be box office successes. Samson and Delilah (1949), Ben-Hur (1925 and 1959) and several movies which chronicle the life of Jesus (King of Kings (1961), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and The Passion of Christ (2004)) have all brought passages of the Bible to life.
I think my favorite Summer stories come from Vacation Bible School. Children are introduced to the women and men of the Bible in numerous ways. Themes include ocean or desert vistas, the 1st-century marketplace, or even the backdrop of the Temple itself. Jesus’ mission and ministry is told and retold through skits and activities for the kids. Some Vacation Bible School packages present characters and songs that celebrate who we are and whose we are.
As we begin to meet in person once again, I encourage each faith community to consider ways the stories introduced and highlighted through Vacation Bible School can be a part of our own spiritual journeys as we explore our relationship with our Lord and Savior. And Amen.