Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Posted by Mark on February 29, 2004

The Passion of 1:30

I arrived at the theater around 10:30 on Saturday morning. The movie was showing on 2 screens, every hour. There was no way for me to get in before the 1:30 showing. I wandered the mall, bought a couple of books, and arrived back at 12:15, figuring I’d be able to hang out and read.

There were already 15 people in line for a movie that wouldn’t begin for another hour and a half. So I stood there, making small talk, reading, etc. It felt like waiting in line for an amusement park ride. A little nervous, ready to get on.

About 1:15, the people from the 11:30 started to file out. It was unlike any movie crowd I’d ever seen. No smiles. No talking. Silence.

And tears. Lots of tears. Not just from women. Big men coming out with red eyes. In twos and threes, some of the people holding each other, as though they were coming out of a funeral.

Grateful for the previews. Tiger Woods in a really silly rip off of Caddyshack, chasing a dancing gopher. A new take on Isaac Asimov’s I Robot, starring Will Smith. You could hear people laugh, more to break the building tension than anything else.

I heard someone whisper, “Here we go.”

And for 2 hours, the experience of Jesus’ last hours was played out in front of me.

The range of emotions still linger, almost 24 hours later. Despair, hopelessness, fear, rage, all intermingled with the knowledge that He made choices that drove the events. He was a willing Victim.

It’s hard to know which depictions were more moving.

The graphic depictions of his scourging, beating and crucifixion are balanced by the equally graphic depictions of his relationships.

Peter, John, Mary Magdalene, Lucifer.

And his mother, Mary. Always there. I thought back to what Simeon said to her when Jesus was 8 days old.

34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

It did. Over and over again through those long hours, the sword peirced her still beating heart.

When it was over, the only sound was the sobbing. People just sat there. I just sat there, unable to process what I had just witnessed. More than a movie. Somehow, calling The Passion a movie cheapens it. Makes it seem like the Previews that had provided a tension release only minutes before.

Walking out in to the Mall was liking reentering the world. That which had been so familiar now looked strange. The sounds of the typical mall seemed tinny, discordant, trivial after The Passion of The Christ.

Should everyone see the movie? No.

Children most certainly should not be subjected to this experience. But anyone interested in seeing a reenactment of the most important event in human history should see it.

As the Pope said, “It is as it was.” Or at least as close as anyone has ever come to depicting the last hours of Christ.

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