I am a film buff. Growing up, I watched classic movies on weekday afternoons and late at night, when I should’ve been asleep. When I have the opportunity I will watch films on Turner Classic Movies, to enjoy cinema from the silent era to the turn of the 21st century. Over the years, the channel has also produced documentaries about cinematic pioneers like Alice Guy, the first female film director.
Over the weekend, I watched a documentary about film restoration. In the 1950s, when movies on the big screen were in competition with television, production companies created a variety of ways to encourage people to go to the movies instead of staying home. VistaVision, CinemaScope, and Todd-AO offered audiences more colorful images than television ever could. And for a brief time, 3-D movies added a new dimension to what could happen before our eyes.
The documentary I saw showed the restoration process for The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. The movie was filmed in Cinerama, a technique that projected the movie from three cameras onto a curved screen to give the story a panoramic effect. I was fascinated to learn how the digital build for each frame from each of three film masters was developed. And a fourth digital build was added for the audio track. But what I noticed most was the excitement and joy each expert expressed as their transformational work unfolded in their hands. The project took more than a year to complete. Each person said that all the effort was well worth it.
Early in the 21st century, as we consider what it means to be a Christian, we are also experiencing a time of restoration and renewal. As we put the time of COVID behind us, and gather once again in our worship spaces, may we take time to reflect upon and consider the ways in which we carry out the Great Commission for the transformation of the world.
I hope that as you engage in conversations about what your faith communities can do, and who you can help, you have a sense of joy and excitement for the work which is before us. What we do in God’s name is not always easy. We will meet people who are sick and poor in body and spirit. We may ask how we share God’s everlasting love with persons who are struggling. We may wonder how to feed those who are hungry, not only for today’s meal but also for those who hunger in spirit. We can be the light for those who are journeying through darkness. And we can share the Good News of God’s salvific acts for our lives through our witness and testimony.
I encourage each of us to consider reaching out to persons who are worshipping with us through their computer screens. What role can social media play in the people we touch, the stories we share, and the lives we change? As we embrace technology and all that it offers, how do we also stay in touch with those who don’t post, tweet, or chat? How do we redefine blended worship to include people watching from home with those sitting in the Sanctuary? May these and other questions inspire us to discover new ways to deepen our relationships with God and with one another. And Amen.