May 12, 2022
Earlier this week, Melissa and I sat down and watched a movie. That doesn’t happen very often. Our days are long and evenings usually full, so we don’t normally take the time to sit down and watch a movie from beginning to end. But that night the stars aligned. We both were home earlier than usual. We had already decided what to have for dinner. So by 7 p.m. dinner was finished, and the kitchen cleaned up. We had no pressing matters to attend to, so I suggested a movie.
I won’t mention the name of the movie because I don’t want to be a “spoiler” if you haven’t seen it. We had never heard of it. We just picked it because the description and the trailer were intriguing. It was not your normal movie. The story was told through a series of narrations, seemingly disjointed vignettes that finally came together at the end. But the ultimate message was a powerful one. Life is unpredictable, often tragic. But our power lies in our ability build on the love and experience of those in our lives who came before us.
I found it to be a powerful message and was deeply moved by it. But I couldn’t put my finger on why. It wasn’t until a couple of hours later, when I was taking a shower, that it hit me. I came out of the bathroom and told Melissa that I had figured it out. “That was my message yesterday,” I told her.
And it was.
If you were in worship Sunday then you know that I preached on the 21st chapter of John’s Gospel, a chapter that I referred to as “The Epilogue.” It’s the final chapter of John’s Gospel that appears after John seemingly wrapped up everything and ended his story in the 20th. It’s the story of the disciples’ encounter with the Risen Christ on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. And I argued that it served to remind us of the previous stories of Jesus that John told, effectively pulling them, living and breathing, into our present story. That, in effect, the epilogue provides a lens through which we view the story to make it real.
That makes us, I argued, the real epilogue. We modern-day followers of Jesus provide the lens through which the world can view this story and make it real.
And while the movie we watched did not have any sort of a religious message, it was a good reminder that art often imitates life. That the time we share exploring Scripture together does not end when the service or the Bible study is over. It was a reminder that when we make the story real for ourselves, we make the story real for all those we encounter.
In other words, we become the story.
See you Sunday.