Monday, March 19, 2007

Who will the next Wilberforce be?

As I sit at work right now I get to watch some excitement. We are in the midst of a lobby remodel and they are putting in carpet in front of my desk and tearing down a corner of the wall across from me. So, as I listen to the sounds of construction, I will try to put my thoughts in order and give you a rundown of my weekend. I was able to watch two movies with my family, "One Night with the King" on Friday night with my parents and "Amazing Grace" on Saturday with my parents and brother at an brand new theater.

"One Night with the King"
This movie is a thematic version of the Biblical story of Esther. The beginning of the movie is hard to follow because if jumps around to different locations and it is hard to make out the characters and figure out who is who because many of the scenes are dark. We first see Hadassah, as she is first called, at home with her Uncle Mordecai and around the town with telling Biblical stories to other Jewish children. Between flirting with a friend, she begged Mordecai to let them go on the caravan to Jerusalem. Her Uncle firmly refuses until just before she is captured and taken to the castle. Shortly after she arrives at the castle she is asked to read to the King to put him to sleep. It was love at first sight for Esther. She ends up telling him the love story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah and it becomes their special story. Esther pushes aside her Jewish heritage and relationship with God until she is in trouble and realizes she was made queen for 'such a time as this.' There are lovers quarrels between Esther and the King just before the edict to kill all the Jews is sent out. The touching climax of the movie is the feast she throws for the King and Haman to beg for the Jews life. She lets them know she is a Jew by shining her necklace in the candles making Jerusalem stars shine around the pavilion built on 12 pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. Haman is unable to see the stars as is the King at first, but after Haman attacks Esther the King returns and says he came back because he could see the stars and renewed his love for Esther. The one thing I did really like about the movie was Esther's dresses and jewelry.

"Amazing Grace"
Wow! The best movie I have seen in a long time! "Amazing Grace" is the retelling of William Wilberforce's fight to end the slave trade in England. Saturday was the second time I saw it and it was even more inspiring than the first. The first time I saw it, I was confused when Wilberforce would flash back to an earlier time and a lot of the characters can look very similar in their white, powdered wigs. The movie begins as Wilberforce travels to his cousin's home to recover his health after fighting for seven long years to get his bill passed in Parliament. You see a man who is worn down with loss and failure to a point were he cannot continue but is tormented with what he knows about slavery and the faces of children on sugar cane plantations who are dieing with no hope. At this time Wilberforce meets and marries Marianne who gives him strength to not only introduce his bill again but to also fight his conic medical condition. One of the moving scenes is when one of his long time opposer signs his petition in front of the entire parliament and a line often quoted is John Newton (author of 'Amazing Grace') says "I am a great sinner but Christ is a great savior." The movie finished as Wilberforce's bill is final passed through parliament and the whole room gives him a standing ovation not only for his accomplishment but more to recognize his dedication, commitment, and passion. As I walked away from the movie I could not help but think what am I passionate about? How can a be a Wilberforce in my family, church, city, country, or even the world? Do I have the courage to stand against everyone else to do the right thing and not only oppose it but work to change it? "Amazing Grace" was an inspiration, encouragement, and challenge to me and how I live my life.

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