Thursday, August 1, 2013

What the World Is Looking For

One of my favorite websites is, the internet movie database.  On imdb, you can look up any movie ever made, no matter how obscure, and learn anything you could possibly want to know about it.  Yes, many has been the evening I’ve been watching a movie with my family, and thanks to imdb I was able to tell them amazing facts that made their movie watching experience so much more meaningful.  They usually respond by saying something affectionate and grateful like, “Dad, please put your smartphone down and just watch the movie.”  On imdb, users can rate movies on a scale of 1 to 10, and there is a constantly updating list of the 500 most highly rated movies of all time.  One movie has been number one on the list for years.  Over a million people have visited the site to rate it at 9.3 out of 10.  It’s not Citizen Kane or Casablanca or The Godfather.  By this standard, the most beloved movie in history is The Shawshank Redemption. Numerous articles have been written about why a movie about a prison in Maine in the 1940s, a movie that is at times very brutal in content, a film that wasn’t commercially successful when it was released, is so beloved today.  The general consensus is that it’s because The Shawshank Redemption is a movie about hope, and that is what the world is looking for.  
            There’s a running dialogue in the film between the narrator, Red, and the main character, Andy Dufresne, about hope.  Red has been in prison most of his life, and he tells Andy there’s no room for hope in prison.  Hope can break your heart, drive you insane.  Far better to just accept your fate in this lonely, cruel, miserable world.  But Andy says hope is the one thing the world can’t take from you.  In one of the movie’s most famous quotes, he tells Red, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”  All this year, we’ve been talking about representing Christ in a non-Christian culture.  We live in a world full of people just like Red.  They’re longing for something to hope in, but they’ve been burned too many times.  If we want to represent Christ well, perhaps the best thing we can do is to show them there is real hope. For the next five weeks, we’ll be looking at one of the greatest chapters in the entire Bible, 1 Corinthians 15.  If you were sent to a nation with no Scripture whatsoever and could only smuggle in one chapter of the Bible, this might be the one.  This Sunday, we'll begin by looking at the message of hope, the truths that are "of first importance," that set people free.

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