Dear God, my wife and I just saw The Jesus Revolution in the movie theater this afternoon. I thought it was excellent. She did too. It was based on a Time Magazine story from June 1971. There were several disparate things that were good about it.
First, and at a most basic level, most Christian movies are not well-produced, but this one was. The production–acting, directing, cinematography, sound, etc.–was excellent. It didn’t feel like I was watching a Christian movie. It was just a movie.
Second, the basic message of people who are pursuing happiness in the world through carnal things are really just looking for you was very powerful for me. They are looking for that transcendental peace that you put in our nature to long for because only you can fill it, but they are looking for it in all of the wrong places. It really made me think about my own concern about the youth in our community. A lot of people are concerned, but they are putting their focus, I believe, in the wrong things like what the schools are doing. The problem is so much deeper and more foundational than that. What will we do to offer you to our world?
Third, the timing of this movie’s release is interesting given the revival happening at Asbury College. What are you up to? Is it something we should be sensitive to here? The rest of our country? Are you ready to short-circuit the toxicity of our evolved society and bring us to you?
Fourth, the battle against the ego. It happens to all of us. Sometimes, we start to believe our own press. Sometimes we exalt ourselves and enjoy the exultation of others and forget to decrease so you can increase through us. It has certainly happened to me. It was portrayed well in the movie too. It’s something I feel like I fight all of the time now. Every day. Success is so much fun to not only celebrate but also to use to lift me up and help me displace you with me. There were a couple of times in the movie when the main characters said “I” when they were referring to who had done something. My wife and I squeezed each other’s hands each time because we heard the same thing. They were taking glory for themselves–even in their private argument.
Finally, I got to thinking about basically what amounts to the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13), although I didn’t think of it until now. Regarding the young people (and some older) in the movie who were coming to know you, how much were they really developing their soil and giving the Holy Spirit room to grow fruit? Their hearts were not the path, where the seed was snatched away by birds. It stuck more than that. But was it the rocks that allowed the seed to spring up quickly but then die with no root? I would bet a lot fit into this category because this was me back in middle school and high school. Every time I would “accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior,” I really meant it, but I did nothing to till my soil and give you space to develop roots. The seed died over and over again. In the movie, were others like the soil with thorns? Did the cares of this world choke out the seed? I think that is where a lot of our current Christian church in America is. Power. Influence. Dogma. These are all choking out the Spirit in our churches. No, I would like to have seen just a couple of scenes of people learning to walk deeper with you in their private lives as well as their communal lives. The movie showed people moving into the same spaces to live together or going to church almost every night to sustain the fire. But what about when living together and daily church isn’t possible? We need the personal time to connect with you. I described it to my wife as “transparent time with God.” We all need to be spending quality transparent time with you.
Father, use this movie. Use Asbury. Don’t let it be wasted. Show me what to do. Show me, Lord, what to do. Move in the leaders in our community. Move in our country. Move in our world. I was thinking this morning about praying for the influencers of our children. Bring the influencers to you. Bring our children to you. Bring me to you. Bring my wife to you. And do it all for your glory and not ours.
I pray all of this under the glory of your name and because the grace of Jesus enables me to be here before you, my Triune God,