A long time ago, in what feels like a slightly different life, I wanted to be a filmmaker. I wanted to write screen plays, or make documentary films. I never wanted to be in front of the camera, was never interested in the spotlight. (You will note some irony in the fact that public speaking is now a regular part of my life.) I wanted to be behind the scenes, telling the story. But you lose your life to find it, said Jesus once. Dreams shift and life plans change, and now, I like to say, I tell stories in other ways.
It turns out that my love of movies was always about my love of stories. I’ve always been interested in the way we tell the stories of our lives, how we make sense of life on earth. As people of faith, we are naturally a storytelling people. The scriptures that ground our faith contain the stories of the people of God, people who have heard and seen God moving in their lives. Jesus himself was a storyteller; his stories and parables brought the kingdom of God to life.
I love those stories. And I still love films. So this month, we’re going to the movies to help us tell the story of God. A few weeks ago, I asked you to tell me about some of your favorite movies. I loved hearing your suggestions, and I chose a few of them to use as starting points for the message in worship each week. (You had great ideas! I wish I could have used them all.)
This is a little different from how I usually approach the task of preaching. Usually, I start with a scripture passage, often one assigned by the lectionary and used by other churches on the same day, and then connect it to something relevant in our lives, or in our church, or in the world. During this series, though, we’ll start with the film, consider what questions or themes it raises, and then connect it to the stories of our scriptures and our faith practices. I think this is important: It’s good to be reminded that the stories of our everyday lives have everything to do with the stories of our faith.
Each Sunday, we’ll show a short clip of each film (family-friendly, of course), and I’ll fill in the story enough so that you won’t be lost if you haven’t seen movie. But if you’d like to watch the film ahead of time, a full list, along with the scripture for each week, is here.
Let’s go to the movies and tell a good story together.
– Lee Hull Moses