- fromThe Life of PI
Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’”
- Exodus 3.13f.
And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm.
- Job 38.1
The angel of God appeared to him (Moses) in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up. Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?” God saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He said, “Yes? I’m right here!” God said, “Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.”
- Exodus 3.2-5
“When the north pole becomes the south pole, and the south the north, a world is reversed and overturned and we find ourselves standing firmly on utter uncertainty. The parables… intend to do precisely this to our security because such is the advent of the Kingdom. Or, as Paul might have put it, see if you can boast from the middle of an earthquake.”
- John Dominic Crossan
On Sunday we will start a sermon series that we have entitled, God’s Cameos. Finding the Spiritual in Reel Life. It should be both meaningful and fun as we examine movies with no particular claim to spirituality, and yet find God’s tracks all over them in themes, ideas, personalities, relationships, and more. In fact, that’s the point we want to make; that no matter where we look, if we are open to it, God is there and will speak. Like Frederick Buechner has stressed time and again, if God speaks anywhere it will be smack dab in the middle of our mundane, everyday life; even at the movies, with or without popcorn. One of the boundaries God ignores (or just plain doesn’t get… just shrugs those divine shoulders and mutters, “Oh, those kids” ) is the division we make between the sacred and the secular, the spiritual and the worldly. In this series we will explore the relationship between the two and, more importantly, how God can use any and all things to nurture and nourish life in its fullness.
The series will begin with a meditation on The Life of Pi. If you have not seen the movie, it is readily available online, on cable TV, or at one of many rental locations, and we encourage you to view or review the movie in preparation for Sunday. But be careful; The Life of Pi is chocked full of spiritual nuggets, and would provide material for a series all by itself. Since we aren’t devoting the entire series to one movie, we will reflect Sunday on the primary point of tension in the movie’s plot; the choice we are all offered between a life guided by reason or by faith. The former represents the empirical; facts and figures that can be measured and manipulated, and yet give no hint of transcendence, of anything behind the veil or beyond the boundry of the facts. Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts, as Sargent Joe Friday insisted on the classic TV series Dragnet. The latter is more difficult to pin down. The life of faith is full of surprises, unsuspected developments, and powerful stories that twist and turn, surprise, confuse, confound, and enchant anyone who walks its path. This choice – the life of faith – seems to offer a more expansive life of meaning and fulfillment, even if we can’t always put our finger on its explanation, or find the right words to give it expression.
Sunday should be a real hoot! and will provide an excellent opportunity for fellowship and spiritual nurture as we gather in worship. We hope to see you there.