Saturday, March 18, 2006
V for Vendetta & Lent
"Jesus said to them, 'Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.'" John 2:9
In January 1941, in his State of the Union address to Congress, Frankin Delano Roosevelt gave an outline of the world beyond times of war: "In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms." The first, a freedom of speech; the second, a freedom to worship; the third, a freedom from want. The fourth freedom, Roosevelt said, was "freedom from fear," where we would have such a reduction in military might that no nation could ever lift up arms against another.
V for Vendetta gives us the story of a masked vigilante "V" (Hugo Weaving) in the year 2020 whose mission is to give the people of his time a chance at this fourth freedom.
One of the film's (and V's) biggest obstacles is the fact that the people don't even realize they are afraid, until someone wakes them up and reminds them of their oppression. In the Scriptures in the third week of Lent, Jesus begins to remind the people of his day of a coming destruction and to release them from their fear.
"Destroy this temple," Jesus declares. Buildings are just buildings, but the idea of real freedom from fear cannot be destroyed. He threw out moneychangers and merchants from the Jerusalem Temple to rid this sanctuary from anything that would seperate the people and their God. On a similar note, V is a hero who believes that the idea of real freedom can never be extinguished, and in his futuristic London, he plans for the destruction of Parliament, a 'temple' of the State which keeps the people from living in real freedom.
The film, and Christ's ministry, have a basic message: you may destroy buildings and you may kill prophets, but you never extinguish the truth.
Fear keeps us from God. Freedom from fear brings us closer to God. This is the truth of Christ, and the moral of V's superhero story. Christianity, it is said, was founded on the blood of martyrs; they were persecuted, their image and reputation were destroyed, and they were killed for believing in an idea and truth that God meant for us to live a life free from fear.
But what stands on the other side of destruction and martyrdom is new life. "...in three days I will raise it up again," Christ said. Not giving anything away about the ending of this movie, I will say that its conclusion, while jarring and somewhat uncomfortable to watch in our post 9-11 world, is a testament to hope in fact that ideas and truth live on beyond destruction.
In the film, the hope of freedom from fear inspires the masses to stand up. Blood was shed, lives lost, but in the end, the idea of freedom rose again and transformed V's world.
In our faith, the hope of freedom from fear is meant to inspire the masses to stand up. Blood was shed, lives lost, but in the end, the idea of real freedom rose again and transformed our world.