Monday, November 16, 2009

Love and The Shipping News

Just finished watching The Shipping News, a 2001 film (yes, I'm a bit slow) starring Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, and Judi Dench. I missed the first few minutes of the film, which will give me an excuse to look for it at the local library, and so to watch it again. One aspect of the film that helped draw me in was that the music playing in the film was clearly Celtic in origin and influence; and many of the characters spoke with a faint Irish accent. I find myself growing increasingly more interested in the Celtic (and especially the Irish) background of our family -- but that's probably better left for another time.

More compelling were scenes in which small acts of kindness, not terribly significant in and of themselves, were, at a deeper level, profound acts of love. As the story unfolded, it also became abundantly clear how deeply human beings can be hurt -- especially by those who are closest to us, who should be foremost in love, not in wounding us. Spacey's character was wounded by death; Moore's by being deserted by an adulterous husband; Dench by a barbarous act she suffered as a twelve year old girl at the hands of her older brother, who was Spacey's character's father. By the end of the film, Spacey's character, known only by his family name (Quoyle), discovers that it is possible for a wounded man to heal.

The movie is far more profound and moving than I am able to convey. So, too, is its deeper message of love, betrayal, bereavement, and healing. I suppose that a part of what I am trying to say -- and maybe this will become more clear after I've had some time to process the film -- is that I was particularly struck by the power of the small acts of kindness to spread love to those who were in great need of being loved. Given that the message of our salvation arises from the love of God in Jesus Christ, and how we are to be ministers of the same, it would seem to me to merit some consideration each day: How may I/did I share God's love with someone else today?

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