We saw Jesus Revolution yesterday. Wow, that brought back memories! I remembered the clothes, the hair, the music, the Romeo and Juliet clip (I let my straight dark parted-in-the-middle hair grow down to my waist after seeing that movie). I also remembered the atmosphere in those days. It reminded me a lot of what is happening again. We were also a generation with trust issues.
I’m a few months younger than Greg Laurie, the searching high school student in the movie. We both grew up in the Cold War years with the threat of nuclear annihilation feeling very real. Some guys I knew were drafted to fight, against their wills, in a proxy war they were told was to protect their way of life. We were manipulated by media marketing that urged our parents to go into debt to make sure we got to the consumer trough first. We witnessed the consequences of pollution and environmental carelessness in the name of corporate profit. We were offered unrestrained sexual expression and recreational drug use as valid, mind-expanding escapes. Sound familiar?
Lately, my attention has been drawn to a phrase inspired by the message in the book of Revelation to the church in Ephesus, a church that worked hard at doing good deeds, but somewhere along the way had lost the plot. The phrase is: “Return to your first love.”
Sometimes, when a married couple is struggling, a counselor will ask, “What first attracted you to each other?” Sometimes in the three-legged race that is a partnership that includes kids, financial and time budgets, and differing priorities, we can lose the plot and forget why we even entered this crazy contest. Sometimes, in a church with all the complexities of “one-anothering,” in a group with an even greater variety of beliefs, expectations, and quirks, we lose the plot.
The film provoked me to remember first love. I remembered falling in love with the guy who would become my husband. I wanted to know him better. I also remembered giving my yes to the invitation to “know Jesus” and get baptised.
What did I know about love? Frankly, like Greg in the movie, I had no guarantee that the love Jesus offered was not just another manipulative ploy to get me to serve “a way of life” some institution decided ought to be preserved. Like Greg, I took the risk and discovered that Jesus was who he said he was.
By the end of the film, the man who has loved me and stayed with me through some pretty tough times in the past fifty years was still there sitting beside me, holding my hand. Tears filled our eyes as we remembered our mutual first love for each other and for Jesus and his faithfulness to us. It’s something we dearly want to see the current generation of young people experience.
He’s real, man.