So last night I went to see Catching Fire at the cinema with a big-random-selection-of-my favourite-people-and-friends! 🙂 Now, the evening was a whole lot of emotionally-charged-cinema-and-selfie-taking-fun (Yes, I did cry on quite a few occasions and almost jump out of my seat at points!), because we're kind of Hunger-Game-geeks… But it also made today way more interesting.
Let me explain.
I'm not only a fan of the Hunger Games because I'm a reading nerd, I'm a fan because I'm a youth worker and this story raises all kinds of spiritual and ethical questions in subsequent conversations with young people. It's an amazing tool to discuss issues like freedom, choice, friendship, sacrifice, loyalty, politics, faith… I could go on. A really good friend of mine has actually just written an amazing book for young people, on the spiritual parallels that can be drawn from the Hunger Games and applied to life lessons, and ultimately Jesus. (It's so good! I've proof read it and I'm hoping I'll be able to give a whole blog post to celebrate it's release soon… Just so you know where my inspiration for today really came from!) And today, with this book and the movie fresh in my mind, I began to run some training for a bunch of young people….
Now, the conversations today were flowing in an amazing way. We talked about the Hunger Games, we discussed whether the Capitol style society was realistic or relatable to our culture. We went through whether people had the right to freedom and what this looked like. Was it ok for some cultures to oppress women? Or children? Or anyone? When did control become manipulative? Was a democracy the best way to run society? We talked about the characters in the books and the movie. We discussed the characteristics of the tributes. Who did we relate to? Why? Why was Katniss inspirational? Why did her genuine care for the weaker or vulnerable make us warm to her? Why were we inspired by her passion? How was love shown in sacrifice?
And the thing is, you can't get to a topic like love being shown in sacrifice, without taking the conversation back to Jesus.
You just can't.
Because regardless of all the parallels that can be drawn, and the fun that can be had in Hunger-Games-offshoot-discussions, it's really great to bring it from fiction and into reality.
The realest-real-reality, which is Jesus Christ, living life on this earth for us, dying on a cross for us, paying the price of our rebellion, and defeating death in every possible way.
In my friend's book, he refers to Jesus as 'The Ultimate Tribute'… And I like that. Because Jesus volunteered to go to the cross, even though He was innocent. And He fought for us so that we could be with Him forever. His victory gives us hope and real freedom. Not from a political regime but from a spiritual oppression. He is the ultimate and forever victor.
Yeah… It was a really good day… 🙂
I also had a couple of emails from Japan today, which bring some of my next stages into stunningly beautiful clarity. One was from my homestay-Mum in Sapporo (where I'm living for the first few months… SO excited!!), and another was from a pastor in Hokkaido who is just inspirational in his crazy heart for prayer and intercession. The content of both emails was super encouraging, but more than that, both emails were in Japanese. And I cannot tell you how much the fact I can actually read, understand and reply is such a huge blessing and cause of thankfulfulness to me. Please, in all your prayers for me, keep my Japanese abilities on your list!!
Yeah, so… That's me for today… There's actually been a few other encouraging things too, but I'd be writing War and Peace if I went through it all! But basically, just know that our God is truly and incredibly awesome, the lifter of our heads and the defender of the weak. He stuns me with His love everyday… But especially today! My heart feels like it's going to burst!!
Love you ALL!!
Oh, and here's a great group selfie from last night. We're so cool! 😉