More Than A Movie

liftWhat’s your favourite film?  Now,  don’t palm me off with a three-star popcorn-meh. I want The One. Five stars, standing ovation, brain blowing, boat rocking, fire lighting celluloid gold.

For me, it’s ‘A la recherche du temps perdu”.  Minimalist dialogue, stunning cinematography and all the Proustian subtleties we’ve come to love.

I’m lying of course.

Actually it was ‘Dirty Dancing’. I make no apologies.

If you have a pulse, you will love it.  (Possibly).  Too complex for me to do justice, but in brief…

Girl with small chest (small detail to you, important one to me), meets Amazingly Hot talented Dancing Instructor. ‘I really respect you’ he says, whilst taking off his shirt, (hers stays on..I  think.  Wasn’t really paying attention). Anyway, it’s all happening. Next they go for a walk and there’s a river and he’s so amazingly hot he has to strip to his manpants. (Integral to plot and tastefully done, I swear). Then they’re in a room and there are people. She offers him a watermelon as a token of her undying love. He lifts her waaay above his head her to say thank-you, but then (crisis moment) pulls a muscle in his back. We inspect it to check he’s ok. He’s fine, but best to be sure so we have an extreme bicep close-up. Then, something happens and he rides off on a motorbike wearing a leather jacket, (because he doesn’t follow the rules).   Fast-forward the next bit.  He comes back!  It’s all okay: we know this because they do a sexy dance, (but not too sexy as it’s a 15 and her dad is watching). The End.

The film changed my life. And I’m not joking. I watched it as a 13 year-old with more interest in my library card than guys. Snake-hips Swayze swivelled across the screen and suddenly, I got it.  This was why people got married and dated and kissed with tongues (gross) and left home.  This was what it was all about.

Here was a man who’d see beyond the braces and trainer bras.  I was obsessed. I read every snippet about him, drooled over his posters and memorised his favourite brand of ketchup. We were destined to be together.    Except… our paths never crossed.

He never even knew I existed.

You can know a lot about someone and never actually meet. I thought about this last week, whilst sorting some old books from bible college. It was a horrible time of my life: not because of the people or the place, but because of what was happening in me. Anorexia. Another obsession; but far more dangerous than my teenage crush.

At theological college, I’ve never known more about God – and never known Him less.

I was a good student. Read the finest thinkers. Memorised the key topics. Draw maps and talked in depth about the archaeology of the time. I talked about Him and I taught Him to others. But the more I read about Him, the more distant He became.  A subject, instead of a Person.Someone to catalogue and observe. A collection of attributes, all ending in ‘ous’.

Jesus was as far-off and unreal as a matinee idol or a silent film. I knew lots about Him; but I didn’t know the Man himself. It seemed impossible that He could know me.

And then I picked  up the Bible.  I asked Him to reveal Himself. And I started to know what I already knew.

He’s not just a headline.  He’s real. Here, now.  Bigger than any star.  Crosses the red carpet and unties the rope. Scours the crowds for your face and mine.  Asks us to join in a dance that’s always been happening. Pulls us close and won’t let go.

Not a film. Or a schoolgirl’s dream. Not an exam or a series of facts.  A real Person and a story that can change us all.


3 thoughts on “More Than A Movie

  1. Quote:…Asks us to join in a dance that’s always been happening.
    Perichoresis, ‘the dancing God’.

  2. That’s just fantastic. From the oh-so-funny description of the film (actually, from the film before that – I totally believed you and felt belittled – thank you for unbelittling me) to the bit about Bible school being knowing about rather than knowing. I need to pick up that Bible more. Not because I’m at Bible school (I’m not) but because tasks and life always seem far too important to actually relax with anyone who wants to dance with me.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Tim – nice
    Jo – I’m sure it’s someone’s favourite film, but I think they move in different circles..

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