Thursday, December 15, 2005

Because of Winn Dixie - Just The Sermon I Needed

I have seen two movies in recent weeks that have spoken to me about Christ and his relationship to the world and to the church on a very deep level.

The first was Rent. This movie captured the reality of the how the "least of these" discarded by the world and ignored by the church understand more about the love of 1 John than so many of us who claim the name of Christ, and study his words in their written form.

The second "Because of Winn-Dixie" I watched tonight while I was supposed to be writing my sermon for Sunday. The funny part is that though I got not one line of my sermon written, I got to see and hear the message I needed. I have NEVER cried so many times during one movie.

I have three quotes from the movie:

"I thought about how life was like a Litmus Lozenge, how the sweet and the sad were all mixed up together and how hard it was to seperate them out." - Opal

"Miss Franny said the problem here was people forgot how to share their saddness, but I think they forgot how to share their joy." - Opal

"But when I look at you
You are like a butterfly.
A catapillars dream to fly.
To bust out of this old cocoon
and dry your wings off...
go ahead and fly"
- Otis

I love to gospel of John so much. I am reading it again right now.
John 4:25-26 The (pagan adulterous Samaritan) woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

The amazing part of the amazing love of Jesus is the first person he tells who he is, is an adulterous Samaritan Woman. He could have claimed his Lordship in Jerusalem at passover, but he did not. He could have declared he was the Immanuel to Nicodemus, Israels teacher, but to him he only spoke in prophecies. He could have saved his declaration, for a crowd of faithful ready to crown him king. Instead he opened the curtains of heaven and revealed his glory to she who was the absolute least in His culture.

I think today Jesus' revelation of his glory would not have been brodcast on the 700 Club. It would not have been featured as the Liberty University commencement adresss. It would have been saved for a crack whore whose body trembling from the pain of the AIDS ravaging her brokeness He was holding in His arms. From her pain, from her despair she is looking for hope, for comfort, for release from the suffering. She has longing eyes that are filled with all the saddness and all the brokeness of the 3 generations of dysfunction and abuse that have led her to this place. I see him look into those eyes, and lean his face close to hers and whisper into her ear the greatest message of hospice anyone has ever heard, "I am the Christ, and I am making all things new!"

I think Winn Dixie represented the "Love of Christ" I think Opal represented the church. When we are following the dog, will never meet a stranger he does not love. Each encounter is a friend waiting to be made, a life prepared to be shared, a litmus test of our learnings in Love. The church (at our best) is the butterfly, emerged from her cocoon, the hope of caterpillars, the paradox that is the balance between sweet and sorrow.


Christina said...

GREAT POINTS... I had never thought about how an adulterous pagan was the first person to whom Christ revealed Himself. I have been contemplating, lately, though that the first visitors Jesus had at His birth were one of the lowliest people groups in the "caste"-type system of the day... shepherds! It speaks volumes of WHO exactly He came for... EVERYONE, despite status, sins or social standing! How thankful I am!

Randy said...

The last two paragraphs.

Beautiful. The essence of Christ.

kingsjoy said...

Two movies for me to check out. I've heard another recommendation for "Rent" as well.

I love it when God speaks through non-evangelical means :) I cry at the oddest things (just ask my wife), but God knows what works.


Darla said...

yes... Winn Dixie is such a GREAT movie.. very humble, very simple, nothing hollywood-y about this movie. i also love dave matthews' character in this film... i wanted to get the soundtrack because i thought the song he sings about the butterfly would be on there, and it's not... i was disappointed about that... but we own it, and cry every time we watch it. it's so real... reminds me how innocent and pure and beautiful children are... reminds me of the scripture about unless you become like a child you will not enter the Kingdom...

PeaNuht said...

Oh, it's like Christian Gorilla Warfare.
'I love it when God speaks through non-evangelical means :)' --Kingsjoy

kingsjoy said...


I hadn't thought of it that way. More like unexpected moments...pleasant surprises...from God Himself. It may have little to do with the intent of the writers/producers of the event. To me, the fact that they aren't in on it makes it that much more valuable.

Anonymous said...

12- I think Winn Dixie was happy that he got to live some where. He was good at catching a mouse. He was a spacile dog. He had a effect on the preacher by making him smile. He got a lot of love.