Friday, January 14, 2011

Leave a Mark, Not a Stain

Normally, I don't like to watch a movie more than once, but Ana has probably watched Sense and Sensibility at least ten times.  I'd rather de-lint my sweaters.  There are only a handful of flicks that I can sit through multiple times.  One such movie is  It's a Wonderful Life (watch it free here), with Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey.  It ran on free TV around Christmas, as it often does, and the magic of the classic film hit me all over again.  One of my daughters, who happened to sit down with me while it was on, got caught up in in it too.

      What's so powerful about It's a Wonderful Life, of course, is that there's some of George Bailey in all of us.  You may have forgotten, but George is far from perfect.  He struggles with success; he is tempted by money and sexy women; he loses his temper.  In the face of evil Mr. Potter and George's own temptations, he valiantly tries to be a good man.  Yet he fails, or so he thinks. He becomes so distraught after a colossal failure that he wants to kill himself - an edgy proposition for a movie in 1946.  In one pivotal scene, George tells Clarence, a wingless angel sent to help, "I wish I'd never been born" - a very biblical response (see Jeremiah 20:14).

     George gets his wish.  Clarence tweaks time and space, and George re-enters a world that never knew him.  Clarence takes him on a tour through a George Bailey-less town, and all of the people and places that are deficient without his unique contribution.  The final scene is one of those moments which is so syrupy sweet that you can't believe it would work, but it does.  

     We all go through times when we don't see the point of our efforts.  We mistakenly think that our failures loom larger than any small contribution to the world.  But the very odd, virtually un-verifiable Truth we learn from scripture is this:  

You Matter.  
          I Matter. 
               We Matter.  

Our lives matter - to God; to the Story God is writing in HisStory.   It is, indeed, a wonderful life because God takes the trials and errors of our lives and spins them into a Story that is so much greater, larger, and Truer than we realize.  

So....if that's the can we enter into the story in the best way possible?  That's what this little sermon series is all about.  Join us!
- Curtis