Monday, November 13, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

"My soul is sorrowful, even unto death... My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will." Matt. 26: 38, 39

In this great film, the main character Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is upset to find out his life is actually the plot of a great book by novelist Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson). If we were in his shoes, I suppose we would feel that same disturbed feeling, too.

But throughout the course of the movie, Crick goes from annoyance to acceptance, to outright willingness to follow where his narrated life is leading him.

Are we getting a glimpse into the life of Jesus himself?

Like Harold Crick, Jesus of Nazareth knew the life and passion that awaited him, authored by an omniscient narrator he called “Abba, Father.” This film, in some respects, is the Christ story, but it is also a challenge to us to make it our story.

In his letter in the New Testament, James challenges his audience to not just be hearers of the word, but to be “doers of the word” as well (James 1:22-27). It is not enough just to look upon the life of Christ and appreciate it, but to take the mantle of Christ upon ourselves. It is not enough to reflect on the self-sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross, but we must take up the cross ourselves and lay down our own lives, if necessary.

In other words, the Christian goal should be to become “Christ-like.”

It’s not easy, even for Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his death, Jesus begged his Father to “Let this cup pass from me.” (Matt. 26:39). His human side did not want to end life, but he knew the story must go on. The gospel makes it sound instantaneous, but I am sure the next line (“Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” Matt. 26:39) took more pain and agony to deliver than we hear in the gospel text.

If we truly want to be “Christ-like,” we will no doubt encounter this doubt and agony. But the story of the Christ figure is already written for us. Will we, like Christ (and like Harold Crick), accept the cross, or will we run from it? Christ made a choice, and so did Harold, and we believe God gives us a choice as well.

So the question lies with us: How will God write your story?

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