Last Wednesday night I went to a movie by myself. Actually, I should probably start this blog post by describing the average week of an ordinary pastor. The week picks up on Thursday with sermon writing, and gets busier on Friday with weddings, funerals and weekend activities, and then crests on Saturday with worship prep, and then the week finds it's apex on Sunday. Then, like the Dow Jones Industrial Average on an August afternoon in the year 2011, the week literally plummets on Monday, until it picks up again on Thursday. So, anyway, I went to a movie Wednesday night, all by myself. Haley and Star were in bed. I wanted to see a movie. Downtown Paso Robles was as sleepy as a door mouse on Ambien on Wednesday night. I found myself watching ("The Help" - a great movie, but let's save that for another blog post) the movie all by myself. Really, it was just me, my large bowl of popcorn, a super-sized Sprite, and a massive screen. And I loved it!
As the movie credits in the beginning began to flash on the screen, I felt like the director was offering me a private showing. When there were funny parts in the movie (of which there were many in "The Help"), I hooted out loud, uproariously...to myself...and to anyone who could hear. When there was a part of the movie I particularly liked, I yelled out, "Wow, that's funny. Ha, Ha, Ha!!!" It was just me, after all. It didn't matter who heard me. I wouldn't be bugging anyone. As the movie carried on, I stretched my legs way out in front of me, into the two chairs ahead of me, relishing the lack of complaints that I heard from anyone about my decorum or poor movie manners. It was wonderful!
So, here's what I've been thinking. What if we thought about our faith as....A Movie for One. What if we viewed the God of the Universe, Jesus Christ, who came to the earth, as a visit that was just intended for One...You, Me, whoever. What if we thought, just for a moment, about the death on the cross, our salvation, as being a gift for just one - You, Me. Now, I know that this thought is entirely non-congregational, selfish, self-centered and a little egotistical. Yes, I know the arguments about how our faith today has become too "me-oriented." However, at some level our faith is very personal, it is extremely individual, it is highly focussed on one, by one, by one. Jesus said; "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance"—Luke 15:4-7.
What this thought has helped me to consider is how unselfconscious I felt in the movie theater that evening, yelling out loud by myself. And how unselfconscious I would like to feel about my faith if I thought of it as a Movie for One. I have been thinking about how free I would feel praying to God, hooting at God, laughing with God about my life, about God's life, if it were just a Movie for One.
All For Now,