"GO and make disciples of all nations" - Jesus of Nazareth [emphasis mine]
After I saw The Village I talked about it with a few other Christians, who hadn't seen the movie. I described the premise of the movie: a group of people, who after experiencing some traumatic events in the "real world," built an idealic village and secluded themselves in a nuturing community. The almost universal response was, "Oh, that is my dream."
I have to say, that in my heart of hearts, I am the same way. Just as depicted in this scene, the young men are running towards the safety and security of the village. I, too, tend to want to run towards seclusion...away from people, circumstances, and tragedy. Yet Jesus, our master and commander, says "GO," not stay. So I run towards sharing how this movie MovedMe.
FEAR vs. LOVE - Why did the Villagers leave the outside world? Because of fear. Traumatic events in each of the original villager's lives led them to band together and create Covington Village. Ironically, however, they had to manufacture more fear to keep everyone inside the village... fear of unknown monsters and fear of the color red.
Personally, fear also drives me to want to isolate myself and my family. I didn't have the greatest past (pre-Christianity). I never want to be tainted by that lifestyle again, so I don't find myself hanging out much with non-Christians. Yet Jesus says go. Fear also drives me to shun meaningful fellowship with believers, because Christians in my past have hurt me deeply. Jesus still says go. Fear of our public school system and the outside world directs me to want to home school our first son or send him to Christian private school. I want to make this decision without regard to his actual needs or God's call. Again Jesus says go...
On the other hand, Ivy is motivated by love. Love propels her to brave the monsters and unkown in order to reach the towns in search of medicine to heal her beloved Lucius. A blind woman, she is the last person anyone would send, but her father rightly discerns, "She is more capable than most in this village. She is led by love." In the same vein, Paul of Tarsus told his disciple Timothy, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (1 Tim 1:7)
Love drives me to venture out into the non-Christian world; for we, as Christians, have the Light and we must shine it in a dark and weary world. Love motivates me to engage in small groups, because, like Jesus, I want to love with more abandon. Love has given my wife and I the courage to follow God's leading to put our son in public school this coming fall, realizing our main reasoning for putting him in an alternative school situation was rooted in fear. Jesus says go...
The major theme of Fear vs. Love hit me rather hard while watching this movie and prompted me to think differently about my life. I realized that with my fears, I have created my own private Covington, one where I was in a "Christian" cacoon. I need to break free. So we are boldly trying to do so, while at the same time clinging tightly to 1 John 4:18, part of which says, "perfect love drives out fear."
Additionally, there were a couple of minor themes from the movie that impacted me.SIN INSIDE - In creating Covington, the Villagers ran from the sins which had tainted their lives and caused them pain, but they found that sin followed them. Sin is inside. They ran from murder, yet it followed them (Noah murdered animals and Lucius). The leader of the group, Edward Hunt (Willam Hurt), had adulterous thoughts towards Alice Hunt (Sigourney Weaver) that he was barely able to contain. And of course there was the lying and fear-mongering that took place to keep all the children from wanting to leave Covington.
Sin is not something I can run from. It wars inside me, which is why I need Jesus and the cleansing he brings daily. Paul says, "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:24-25a NLT).
MAN UP - According to my wife, Linda, the porch scene where Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) finally declare their love is one of the most beautiful romantic scenes on film. I've provided the lines for you below. What I learned is that as a man, my tendency is to think loving things in my head about Linda, but not say them. I NEED to say them!
Ivy Walker: When we are married, will you dance with me? I find dancing very agreeable. Why can you not say what is in your head?
Lucius Hunt: Why can you not stop saying what is in yours? Why must you lead, when I want to lead? If I want to dance I will ask you to dance. If I want to speak I will open my mouth and speak. Everyone is forever plaguing me to speak further. Why? What good is it to tell you you are in my every thought from the time I wake? What good can come from my saying that I sometimes cannot think clearly or do my work properly? What gain can rise of my telling you the only time I feel fear as others do is when I think of you in harm? That is why I am on this porch, Ivy Walker. I fear for your safety before all others. And yes, I will dance with you on our wedding night.
FINAL THOUGHT - There is a scene in the movie where Edward Walker, the leader, says to Lucius Hunt, "You are fearless in a way that I shall never know." You see, Lucius constantly wanted to venture outside the village...without fear. Edward led the people to hide...motivated by fear. I want to be like Lucius!