Tuesday, September 1, 2009

'Passion of the Christ' Renews Passion for Christ

I just watched the movie "The Passion of the Christ." Yes, it takes me a while, sometimes (the movie was released in 2003), but for some reason, I just never got around to seeing the film that rocked the box office when church folks crammed theaters in a rush to see a Christian film made by a huge Hollywood star (Mel Gibson).

Maybe because it was a film being embraced by the church I was reluctant to see it. Honestly "Christian" films that the church gets excited about usually aren't films that interest me, and I'm a big fan of Franco Zefferelli's "Jesus of Nazareth," so I didn't feel a big need to see 'The Passion."
I'm glad I finally watched it, though. It has given me greater insight into what the Savior endured -- on my behalf. This film probably is the most realistic of any in its depiction of the brutality of the ordeal of the cross. We tend to gloss over the account of Christ being beaten without fully realizing the kind of abuse he received. I can't fully comprehend enduring the scourging with whips and flesh-ripping barbs, then having to carry a heavy cross.

I was struck by the incessant lashes while Christ was carrying the cross. "Enough, already," I wanted to yell. What's the point of whipping someone who already has been scourged almost to the point of death? The answer is shown artfully as Satan observes the action from among the crowd. Yes, that's really what it's all about. Evil influencing us to rebel against and think we're stronger than, better than, smarter than the one who can save us. Every time I sin, it's like adding a lash to Christ's suffering.

We gloss over the fact that soldiers stuck a crown of thorns on his head and mocked Christ as the king of the Jews. I used to think of that as a sort of costume piece part of the story until one day when I was gardening and reached to pull some weeds. I accidentally brushed my head into a rose bush. Let me tell you, those thorns hurt -- really hurt beyond lots of other pain I have endured -- and I only had them stuck in one small part of my head for the few seconds it took before I could extracate myself. I can't begin to imagine the suffering it caused when a crown of thorns was pushed into the flesh of my already beaten Lord. Every time I sin and refuse to repent, it's like forcing that crown on Jesus head.

Witnessing all this in the graphic detail of "The Passion" gave me a renewed sense of awe for a God who loves us so much he would sacrifice his own son to save the souls of the very people unjustly causing his pain. It boggles the mind. It puts things in perspective. It makes me want to serve him every minute of every day.

"He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him." (Romans 5: 6-8 The MESSAGE).

--Lauren Yarger

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Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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