Don't Look Up

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In our church we’ve been working our way through the Gospel of Mark, reading it a section at a time, and this week we’ve arrived at the part where Jesus shares food and drink with his friends in a safe place before the events that lead to his death begin to escalate.  (Actually, it wasn’t just his friends that he shared this meal with; he also shared dip with the person that he knew would hand him over to the authorities.  Jesus wanted him there, too.)

Like millions (billions?) of other people, we watched the film Don’t Look Up over the Christmas break and the scene near the end of the film of friends sharing a meal, knowing that destruction is coming, has stayed with me.  The scientists and their family and friends gather, knowing that their attempt to ‘save the world’ has failed and that death is coming.  However, they choose in that moment to share food and drink, to name the things they are thankful for, and, surprisingly, to pray.

Timothee Chalamet’s character, Yule, offers to pray, when others say that they don’t know how:

Dearest Father and Almighty Creator,

we ask for your grace tonight, despite our pride,

your forgiveness, despite our doubt.

Most of all, Lord, we ask for your love to soothe us through these dark times.

May we face whatever is to come in your divine will

with courage and open hearts of acceptance.

Sometimes films can feel a little bit too close to real life and this satire feels scarily believable at times.  Global events as well as politics nearer to home can fill us with a sense doom and fear.  In the face of this, following the example of the film, wouldn’t be a bad place to start: doing all we can in the face of opposition, gathering with those we love and who share our commitment, and even praying.

However, the meal 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, although alike in some ways, as friends gather in the face of danger, offers more hope.  Although Jesus doesn’t skirt around the upcoming trouble, he says that the suffering will have a purpose and that new life is on the other side of it.  His friends understand that they will be caught up in the coming darkness, but also that something new is being born.  God is going to be with them in ways that they could never have imagined.  No longer only outside them, but within them, fighting off fear, wiping away their own complicity, enveloping them in God’s love.

Karen Turner

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