Meridian Star

January 11, 2014

Moved by great movies

By Ron Wood
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — I enjoy good movies. Not "mind-numbing entertainment," but visually stunning epics or character-driven dramas that deliver a great story in a compelling way. Movies can touch hearts and change minds. I treasure any movie or book that illustrates timeless truth or moral certainty, especially since modern culture ignores the moral lessons of history or the paths of ancient wisdom in the Bible.

    You may have to go searching to find a fresh prophetic voice or a visual sign that communicates God's truth today. Yes, the Bible is true, but sometimes we need something startling. God can use visual aids to drive a point home. God can put on quite a show. Witness the parting of the Red Sea, or the fall of the Twin Towers, and you will be moved. Dramatic events can be a signal from heaven, an alert that we should heed. Yes, something as mundane as a movie can coincidentally reveal spiritual reality like the first “Matrix” movie did.

    These kinds of movies or books don't come along often, maybe once in a generation. It has to be excellent, powerful, moving, and must illustrate real truth. For me, there are three movies that qualify, each distinct in its own way, each conveying a truth larger than life.

    The first is "Sargent Alvin York," the old black and white Gary Cooper movie. It is based on a true account of how a rough Appalachian hillbilly was converted to Christ. At first he was a pacifist. But after he sought the Lord in fasting and prayer as to whether or not he should enlist and fight, he became the most decorated hero of WWI. Coincidence? I don't think so. Besides medals and honors, the State of Tennessee awarded him and his new bride a parcel of rich land on which to farm.

    The second is "To Kill a Mockingbird," starring Gregory Peck. There has never been a film that captures life in the South, especially from a child's perspective, with all its pathos and trials including the violent injustice of racism, than this timeless jewel of a movie. The story is about Atticus Finch, a lawyer raising two young kids after their mother has died. He defends a black man falsely accused of rape. The whole tale is seen through the eyes of Scout, his ten year-old girl, as she and her little brother live under the loving care of this courageous and wise father.

    The third movie is "Les Miserables," which is the newest of my three cinematic gems. It is gritty and emotionally compelling. (Not suitable for children!) It has beautiful music with powerful songs performed by actors Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe. I had seen two of the older versions based on Victor Hugo's novel, but I am awed by this modern masterpiece. I watched it again recently and decided that this gut-wrenching tale is the best in human drama. It has love and honor amidst war. Sin and suffering sit side by side with heroism and sacrifices. The story is played out during the French Revolution. It contrasts rich and poor; powerful and powerless; brutal justice or tender mercy; exacting law or extravagant grace; relentless retribution or forgiveness freely given.

    What about you? Has a book or movie deeply touched your life with a portrayal of something true and timeless? Have you considered that God may speak to you in ways unique and non-religious? Once God has your attention, go get your Bible and nail down His will for your life.

    Ron Wood is a pastor, missionary, and writer. He serves Trinity Assembly of God in Meridian. Hear interviews and discussions on "The Father's Power" broadcast each Sunday on Supertalk radio, 103.3 FM, at 8AM and 7PM. (601) 483-8189.