Screen Your Biopic for God

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There’s a phenomenon known to science geeks that not only helps us to see movies, but also helps us understand how God wants to view our life stories. It involves persistence of vision. We’re invited to be as persistent inviting God into our lives as God is in inviting us to eternal life.

We’re invited to the wedding feast known as God’s Kingdom more than a dozen times throughout the gospels. Humanity’s reluctance or downright refusal to answer those invitations becomes a self-fulfilling fate worse than death, both in those gospels and in our lives. Why do we invite such eternal isolation?

The kind of persistence characterizing God’s invitations is a recurring theme in this Sunday’s readings. It’s a persistence we are called to imitate and return by continuously inviting God into our messy lives. Our invitation benefits us more than that Supreme Being, who’s always there for us anyway. We need reassurance of divine reinforcement though, just as the Israelites did while fighting off attackers throughout the Old Testament. In Sunday’s first reading (Ex 17:8-13), Moses’ constantly-raised hands are his people’s link to the courage God gives them to persevere in their struggle.

As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight … Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

In our second reading (2 Tm 3:14-4:2) Paul encourages us to persevere just as courageously with each other in proclaiming God’s word so future generations will retain it and do the same.

Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

Of course, leave it to Jesus to personalize God’s word and give it life in our hearts. His parable of the persistent widow who wins a favorable judgment from the stubborn official she wore down communicates the wisdom of persisting in the vision of salvation we are called to share with God (Lk 18:1-8).

“Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says,” Jesus recommends. “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?”

We were made to house a spirit that continuously invites God to make a home with us. It’s an instinct so strong we can see it – just as the widow in Jesus’s parable envisioned the judgment she hoped for. Her “persistence of vision” fed her faith.

The motion picture connection? Persistence of Vision is what lets us humans enjoy movies. Each frame of a film is retained on our retina for a brief time until the next image replaces it. At 24 frames per second, we enjoy a flicker-free cinematic experience we can understand.

But we humans are also fickle and can forget an entire movie if it doesn’t move US. So maybe we should consider how our persistence of vision might work in God’s eyes. Jesus’s parables were virtual word movies. Could our persistent God be a cinephile? What if we lived every frame of our lives as if we were projecting to God a series of images persistent enough to burn onto HIS retinas? If we were as persistent as the widow in Christ’s parable we could direct for our Producer a biopic that turns our life into a moving prayer.

Why not be as persistent in inviting God into your screening room as God is in inviting us to his banquets? Dinner and a movie are the elements of a great date.

–Tom Andel

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