Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Light up the darkness."

This week I finally watched "I am Legend" with Will Smith. Great movie. I didn't know it was based on a 1954 science fiction novel by Richard Matheson, or that other movies had already been made from that book. Which is amazing since I'm typically up on vampire-related genres. I've always been fascinated with vampires, and some of you know that my only recurring nightmare involves fighting vampires a la Blade (not Buffy). See an article about the history of the book and movies here.

***Movie Synopsis--if you haven't seen it and plan to, stop reading***

This 2007 version is set in 2012. A cure for cancer was created in 2009 by manipulating a virus and injecting into humans. Unfortunately, it apparently mutates and wipes out 98% of the world's population. In the remaining 2%, most become zombie/vampires, only coming out at night and feeding on blood. But a few, less than 1%, are immune to the effects.

Army doctor Robert Neville is the last human living in New York City. But rather than leave, he spends his days trying to find a cure, trying to adapt his own immune blood into a serum that will restore the vampires to humans. We learn through flashbacks about various events surrounding the cutting off of NYC from the rest of the world in 09, hoping to stem the virus outbreak. As a comment on the movie itself, it is a true thriller. Very little gore, lots of hair standing on end. Lots of waiting for the vampires to appear, then forgetting your waiting, then jumping when they do. That alone is worth the watch.

But the movie also reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan's films, which I really like. There is a string of Providence that winds through the movie. American Christians have almost forgotten about Providence. We have worked so hard to understand God as our friend (not a bad thing) that we forget about God as the Writer of a cosmic story. Plus we're pretty big into free will, and unless we're calvinistic in our theology, we don't like the idea of God somehow manipulating our lives in this story. Unless of course it keeps us healthy and wealthy, but that's another post.

Through the movie you see these little "signs" that you don't know are signs until the end of the movie. And isn't that just the way life is? Like Jacob, we "wake up" and say "God was here and I flat out missed it." These signs are given to light our way in a dark world and help us see that while all kinds of things happen that seem evil and chaotic and totally out of control the threads of Providence are weaving their way to the conclusion of the story that the Writer has in mind. His dreams will come true, his will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. When we begin to see these signs, we believe. We become participants in the story's outcome, characters used by the Writer to bring about the conclusion.

We begin to light up the darkness.

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