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Monday, March 24, 2008

Good Friday in Review

Good Friday was very special this year. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a bad Good Friday at Westwinds.

Long ago, I learned the importance of separating the look, feel, and drama of Good Friday and Easter. I think it is important to create a moment on Good Friday that is much like what the disciples and Jesus’ family must have been feeling like before they knew the rest of the story—pain, despair, confusion, sorrow, anger, frustration, agony, etc.

So, the only mention of resurrection and celebration we ever allude to is usually at the end of the evening as we mention the hope that is coming and invite people back to Easter Fusion. I think we do the Good Friday moment a disservice when we give an “Easter” message.

P.S. Read Dave’s message notes here.

This year, I built the entire Good Friday Fusion around the film, “MOST.”

Admittedly, whenever I hear of a Christian film that is a must-see I rarely trust the reviews. I don’t want to be a cynic but most of the “Christian” films I have seen have left me sorely disappointed and bored. So, when my mother-in-law bought me a copy of MOST a couple of years ago, it sat on my shelf for a few months before I could get myself to sit for ½ hour.

I was pleasantly surprised.

MOST is the film interpretation of the oft told story about a man who must make a decision to save his son from certain death or lower a bridge to allow a train to pass by which will save the life of many but sacrifice his son’s life.

I heard the story every summer at camp. It had become stale to me. I don’t know that I ever heard it told well in the first place.

This movie made me love the story.

The independent release was filmed in The Czech Republic and Poland (two places I have fallen in love with over the years) and it is subtitled which, for me, only added to the magic.

We showed the film in 5 different segments on Good Friday interspersed with song, communion, and a contemplative prayer session involving 10 different sound vestibules scattered throughout the auditorium (more to come on that).

I highly recommend this film for a showing at your church. You can purchase a license for group viewing at the website. It is cheap as far as licenses go and it is well worth it. You also get DVD’s and promo material with the license.

Though it is not “graphic” in the blood and gore sense, you should know that the filmmakers did not sugarcoat the death of the son. My wife said she almost threw-up and was a little upset I didn’t warn her. I saw more than a few dads wrecked in tears on Good Friday.

Honestly, when you talk about the death of Jesus through message and song every single week and sometimes multiple times throughout a week before a crowd of people, it is good to know about stories like this that come around every once in a while to stir and provoke us to engage the reality of what has taken place for us. I will admit that I talk about His death at times with the same enthusiasm as explaining what I had for dinner and that bothers me. We all need stories, well crafted and well delivered.

This film gets the Vertizontal two fingers up.

You can watch the trailer here. But, I wouldn't show the trailer to your church. Let the movie stand on its own.