Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When Death Leads To Life

My thoughts on Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”…. a FILM, a piece of cinematic artistry, it does impress.  It is visually stunning in many parts and does serve to, at least for me, emphasize and bring to life many of the events that ARE at least close to the story in the Bible and put them into even greater overall context.  And the acting is, of course, solid, given the quality cast assembled for this epic.  And for all the flaws and inaccuracies in the story that there definitely ARE, I found the following elements to be engaging…..

The scenes that are shown as God-given dreams Noah has about the destruction of humanity were particularly potent. Seeing these made real the basic fact that this tale is, initially, about mass death…and that it will happen due to God's WILL and CHOICE because evil and wickedness has SO poisoned the humans He created.  This picture of man's truly fallen nature being illustrated so bluntly worked for me in that the film wasn't afraid to portray that depravity and evil, so that even WE understand WHY God was choosing to do this.

And yet, in all of it, we also see the HUMAN-ness of Noah, again, in my opinion, in a way that carries weight as well.  And I mean that from the standpoint that so often, I feel like maybe we have heard this story and see many of the Old Testament heroes as perhaps MORE than what they actually were.... regular MEN and WOMEN.  Human, fallible, struggling with even the decisions in obeying what God has called them to do.  And while yes, Noah was seen in God's eyes as a RIGHTEOUS man, worth saving along with his family and his children and their families, it still seemed, somehow, refreshing to understand Noah as fallible by the end of the flood (is it any wonder Noah went off and got drunk?).  I do not mean that lightly or in a derogatory nature at all, mind you.  The stress he must have endured, even WHEN obeying God's commands, just put him in a new perspective for me, even if these particular emotional moments are not specified distinctly in Genesis 6-9.  I guess it's just to say that I did not mind THESE particular points of conjecture within the film, among other moments meant to visualize God’s hand at work to provide, heal, or bless.

But, by the end of it all, when the waters receded, and Noah was able to ultimately return to his family and the covenant is established between Noah and God for the future of his family and generations to come, is it not the realization that even out of that time of utter chaos and destruction, God brought forth NEW LIFE?  The concept of redemption, of being reconciled to God.  For us, this story and everything that follows it throughout the Old Testament points us to the Cross.  In humanity’s constant wickedness, in the striving to think that serving ourselves is the way the world is to be, that there are no moral absolutes, that just “being good” is enough……God looked down on this, AGAIN, and made a decision…AGAIN…something must change.  But THIS time, instead of mass death….he chose ONE death to be the redemption of ALL of His creation.  Just as the Flood brought that necessary cleansing to the Earth God created, so Christ’s death on the Cross and His blood that flowed from whip strikes, nails, and spear cleansed the world again through the destruction of sin’s chains once and for all, that ALL who would accept Him as Lord and Savior would become heirs to His eternal Kingdom.

Church, we ARE that chosen race through Christ, and in this Easter season, I truly pray that we are THANKFUL for the fact that God chose NOT to destroy the whole world again, but rather made the way for ONE death to be the doorway to life.  Meditate, read His Word, kneel in prayer, humble yourself, WORSHIP our Risen King!  Praise be to God.

Our Special guest blogger this week is Kirk Fernwood. He leads worship at Orange Friends Church and writes regular movie reviews at his blog

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