Monday, July 6, 2009
If you've followed this blog for awhile you know that I have this thing with movies and searching out unrequited meanings in the plot. While reading zie uber fabulous book Prodigal God by Tim Keller I was reminded of a foreign film that caused me to cry rivers of tears for days after viewing. Reason number 342,457,364 why I want to grow up and be Tim Keller: he watches movies like I do. (Now if he ate popcorn with jalapenos while doing so, I'd be his indentured servant.) His comparison to the love of God in one of my favorite foreign films is genius and a perfect way to start my day.
The acclaimed foreign film Three Seasons is a series of vignettes about life in postwar Vietnam. One of the stories is about a Hai, a cyclo driver (a bicycle rickshaw), and Lan, a beautiful prostitute. Both have deep, unfulfilled desires. Hai is in love with Lan, but she is out of his price range. Lan lives in grinding poverty and longs to live in the beautiful world of the elegant hotels where she works, but in which she never spends the night. She hopes that the money she makes by prostitution will be her means of escape, but instead the work brutalizes and enslaves her.
Then Hai enters a cycle race and wins the top prize. With the money he brings Lan to the hotel. He pays for the night and pays her fee. Then, to everyone's shock, he tells her he just wants to watch her fall asleep. Instead of using the power of his wealth to have sex with her, he spends it to purchase a place for her for one night in the normal world, to fulfill her desire to belong. Lan finds such grace deeply troubling at first, thinking Hai has done this to control her. When it becomes apparent that he is using his power to serve rather that use her, it begins to transform her, making it impossible to return to a life of prostitution.
Jesus Christ, who had all the power in the world, saw us enslaved by the very things we thought would free us. So he emptied himself of his glory and became a servant (Philippians 2). He laid aside the infinities and immensities of his being and, at the cost of his life, paid the debt for our sins, purchasing us the only place our hearts can rest, in the Father's house. Today let's live not like prostitutes trying to survive, but like children of God who were born to thrive.