Of movies and meditation

I started reading the Old Testament last week. My present goal (though it grinds against my mental nature) is to rapidly traverse the sacred ground, rather than meditating my way from point to wondrous point. But, as one might reasonably expect, the holy striving has not been without unexpected benefit. Exercising myself in this fashion has made me think of movies and of meditation.

Movies are popular. Who, besides the staunchest of self-professed Puritans, is unable to appreciate a truly good film? We are wired for stories, and movies are a wonderful and legitimate medium for the telling of a tale. Why do we love movies so much? Because we can see the fury of battle and the faces of friend and foe. We can hear the words, the weeping, and the laughter. We can memorize the lines and employ them humorously in apt moments! Movies afford us the luxury to kick back and let the storyteller paint the motion picture for us. And movies, really good movies, give us plenty to think about.

While good in itself, the art of film should function as a treat, a dessert in our lives. It is not the main course. Why? Because film is a shadow of the real film, the (do pardon me) reel story: God’s story. In other words, reading the Bible should be, at times, like watching a movie. If you’ve never experienced that, I daresay you’ve never really read the Book.

The long and fascinating narratives of Scripture are the epic movies of God’s universe. If we, by prayer and perseverance, will press forward in reading the large sweeps of Scripture, I do believe we will find our minds more captivated than they have ever been during the most engaging of movies. So put aside the devices, open God’s story, and watch. It will be both pleasure and profit to your soul, and living food for eternal thought.