I've always said that my favorite movie of all-time is The Mission, but I have only seen it a few times. I was introduced to the movie when I was a sophomore in college - one of my English professors got so emotional talking about the film, I had to rent it that next weekend. I wish I could peel back the layers of what I know now so that I could remember what it was like to see it for the first time. My response to it was guttural, I remember that. I put the soundtrack on repeat in my room and grieved. (Years later my friend Sharon would say, as an aside to a conversation about human trafficking, that many times people will cry or will respond emotionally to something, and will think that they have done something about the problem. She had moved, not past emotional responses, but into a life of flesh and blood responses. I flashed back to myself face down on my comforter, bawling my eyes out when she said that.) I can't remember what exactly got to me that first time, the story is complex, but I think I saw that my life resembled the Spanish and the Portuguese more than it resembled the Guarani, or the Jesuits, and that made me feel the long distance to heaven, and the complexities of responsibility in societies.
The second time I watched it was two years later. Troy and I were going to get married, and so he thought he should see my favorite film of all-time (his was It's a Wonderful Life) I left his apartment in tears, struck again by how impossibly small love looks next to violence. That time, the silliness of war (men in wigs fighting with singing children - absurd!) was so clearly stupid, and yet at the same time, still so violent and real, with real consequences. I understood the Old Testament God that night in a way I had not yet.
I have thought about the movie many times since then, and even though I have owned it for many years, we just got around to watching it again tonight. I feel it planted in my heart (that is probably why I am blogging after mid-night). There are so many people in the world asserting power. People groups, political groups, religious groups, neighborhood associations. Everyone has their stuff, and their power-play. In my heart/nature I feel two responses - one is to quit, disengage, stop showering, and despair that the only way to take away a tiny bit of that power is to take my bit of power and walk away. But the other response/desire I feel is to take my bit of power, lay it down and follow Jesus. Truly, His way (love, forgiveness, standing with the broken-hearted) is the only way forward in deadlocks of power, misunderstanding, and anger. You really do have to lose your life to live.
Now that is a good movie. The Mission has given me twenty years of rumination and compelling heart-examination - even when I wasn't watching it!