I will attempt to give you a quick synopsis of the movie (without having to give a spoiler alert in case you have not seen it yet) which is based on the book of the same title by John Green. The central characters are two teenagers, Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, who are dealing with cancer. They struggle with the deep questions of life and even though their lives are filled with uncertainties, they find joy in the world around them. While this movie will cause even the strongest person to cry, it is filled with an underlying love that is so deep that you will leave the theater with a heart full of hope.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples."
This text brings such imagery. A vine can take on many forms. It can be long and sinewy making it difficult to clear. It can be luscious and thick creating a beautiful covering on a fence. It can be dying in places and needing to be trimmed. Whatever the vine looks like, Jesus tells us in this text from the book of John that he is the central vine and we have been created as branches reaching out from this central vine. The vine provides the strength for the branches and gives the nutrients that sustain them. The vine does not exist without the branches reaching out. What does this vine provide for us to keep us moving forward and reaching outward? Hope? Love? Strength? Compassion? I think our list could be exhaustive.
The Fault in Our Stars has so many teaching opportunities that we could focus on but Sunday morning we will narrow our focus on just a couple. Love and hope. Hazel Grace and Augustus show us that even through suffering, they continue to reach out through basic human relationships. They show us that even through suffering, love and hope remain.
If you have not seen the movie you may watch the trailer here: