I saw the movie, The Passion of the Christ.
I was not going to comment on it, but…
I liked the movie, but with qualifications. It was intense. Not sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat intense, but more on a deep emotional level. I lost all track of time until about the end of the movie. I knew the story, but it was the watching of it played out in front my eyes that felt kind of weird. Most of the movie felt realistic. There were some artistic elements like Satan floating among the onlookers and the flashbacks. I wished there were more flashbacks. The flashbacks were good at illustrating the humanity of Jesus, the parts of His life that helped me fall in love with Him.
I began to feel a little emotionally detached from the movie during the scourging scene. The first part looked very realistic. It was the second part, the part were I think most people found fault with the movie, with the whips with little metal barbs at the end of them that seemed too much. Considering how many times the movie implied that He was struck, I would have expected that kind of weapon to do more damage to a body. It was amazing that He survived that part of the suffering.
I think most people object to how brutal and how long the whipping continued. But I think that it is a reflection on us. How many times does a wife beater repeat the cycle of abuse and apology? How many times does the alcoholic, drug user, or smoker abuse his or her body? What about sex, the one night stands or the chain of failed relationships with shallow, false love and no commitment? How many times do we pass by a homeless person and do nothing? How many times have we been too busy to visit someone in the hospital or to help a friend? Everyday, we beat up each other with thoughtless comments and insensitive actions. Our brutality with each other is endless. If you try to see Jesus in others, than maybe you can understand why the whipping continued as long as it did in the movie.
The part that re-engaged me with tears in my eyes was on top of Golgotha, as He was being placed upon the Cross. It was the flashbacks to the Last Supper—the bread broken with the body broken, and the wine with the blood shed. The overlapping was very intense. Communion for me will not be the same. The symbol of the crucifix has deeper meaning too.
The ride from the theater felt like leaving a funeral. Everyone was quiet. I was reminded of the ride after my mom’s funeral. My emotions, and even my physical state, felt very similar. The world was still buzzing around us like nothing had happened, but we had just experienced this intense, emotional journey.
When leaving a funeral, or leaving this movie, one questions not so much in words but with feelings, how is life suppose to go on now? How am I going to live my life after that experience? It can become a mini-kairos moment—a moment where you can choose to move closer to God, or to move away. As it has always been with God, you are free to choose. It is up to you.