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Message From Pastor Leon

posted Dec 27, 2016, 9:19 AM by Tracey Morris

 Many movies have been made about the life of Christ, and I am always interested in seeing how each movie portrays the Biblical account. Some movies follow the Gospel record too closely, and the words and action seem artificial and unrealistic. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are Gospels, not movie scripts, and one expects the moviemaker to use some creativity in telling the story, even if it means adding some dialog or rearranging the context. However, many other movies do not respect the Biblical record at all, and end up telling an entirely different story. They are free to do that, but I am not interested in seeing those movies or recommending them to others.
In my opinion, the best life of Christ ever portrayed on film was the four night television mini-series Jesus of Nazareth. This was first aired forty years ago, on NBC during Holy Week in 1977. The film may to some people seem slow moving at times, but many of the scenes are unforgettable. To this day, whenever I read the Gospels I am often reminded of how the story I am reading was portrayed in Jesus of Nazareth. Order it from Netflix or Amazon, or watch for it on TV. The 382 minutes it will take to view it is well worth your time. A 270 minute edited version is also available.
Two more recent wonderful movies are The Nativity Story (2006) and Risen (2015). The Nativity Story tells the story of Mary and Joseph, from the time of their courtship to their escape to Egypt after the birth of Jesus. The 100 minute movie adds much to the brief Biblical account of these events, but what is added respects the story that we do have, and it true to the historical context of the New Testament. Risen (as you may have guessed) tells the story of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, but does so from an interesting and creative angle. The main character is not Jesus, but a tough Roman centurion who has no time for religion of any sort. But Pontius Pilate gives him the job of finding the dead body of Jesus after there are persistent rumors in Jerusalem that he rose from the dead. (Spoiler alert: He doesn’t find a dead body.) This movie also respects the Biblical account and context, and tells a powerful story.
In January and February I will teach a four session class on these two movies. We will watch both movies in their entirety, stopping for explanation and discussion at frequent intervals. These movies have added much to my appreciation of the story of Jesus, and perhaps you also will find them educational and inspirational.
Classes will be on the second and fourth Thursdays of January (12th and 26th) and February (9th and 23rd), from 7:00 – 8:15 p.m. in the Mary Room. No sign up is necessary and the only textbook for the class will be your Bible.
I wish you God’s blessings in this New Year.
Pastor Leon