A Table in the Presence of My Enemies

It is rare that I watch a film and have to run immediately to blog about it. But a newly released movie has completely enraptured me.

The very modestly named movie Pig carries with it a weight of relational content and mystery that few modern movies measure up to. Nicholas Cage plays a forest recluse whose love for the humblest of animals, a truffle-hunting pig, compels him to hunt down the thieves that take him. He comes out of his reclusion to reveal a world he left behind in the city of Portland, Oregon, a world of friends and family who have lost their first loves in search of fleeting worldly gain, earthly lusts, and extreme disconnection from humanity. But this recluse’s single-minded love and devotion for a simple creature gradually brings them all back around to what is real, holy, and worthy of love.

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Beyond Mere Appearance

Sunday November 7, 2021; 20th Sunday after Pentecost

Galatians 1:11-19
Luke 16:19-31

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ. Glory forever. A classic Danish film portrays the theme of this morning’s gospel in the person of a French maid. Babette’s Feast features a penniless woman cast out by circumstances in her home country to foreign land in the north. Like poor Lazarus, she arrives at the home of two unmarried sisters cold, alone, and in need of help. But if a person were to conclude that Babette’s outward circumstances defined her inward disposition, they would be wrong. For while she was poor in possessions, her artistic soul made her rich beyond the reach of mere circumstance. As the apostle says, “…being poor, yet making many rich“, she managed in the end to exhaust her entire bank account towards a feast for her friends.

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The Feast of Faith

kidsiconOne of the most awkward moments in my life happened the first time I visited an Orthodox Church. I came armed with my trusty notebook containing all the biblical questions I was prepared to hurl at anyone who might ask. From my infancy, I had known the Holy Scriptures which were intended to make me wise unto salvation; at that point in my life, however, they served more to puff up my ego. I thought I was prepared for any question about my faith, to give a defense in the form of words. What I was NOT prepared for was an argument in the form of images, a faith in the form of a divine feast, and a challenger in the form and substance of a little child. While I stood through the beautifully festive service with my notebook of interrogations, a wordless boy of not more than three next to me gazed upward in silent wonder at an icon of a saint. I put away my notebook and realized quickly that this babe was getting something that I was missing: wonder in the face of something or rather Someone much larger than my feeble intellect. Continue reading