Every Spring, I show my 8th grade Bible classes the movie spoken of below. It is a terrific look at our conception of Jesus. This is from March 14, 2011.
In my entry yesterday, I mentioned writing on my hand during our Chinese worship service. The message to myself in ink was WDTW, a reference to a movie called Whistle Down The Wind. Each year in my eighth grade Bible classes, we watch Whistle Down The Wind followed by an essay test. The kids love the movie, not so much the exam. The film was made fifty years ago in England and stars Hayley Mills in a screenplay adaptation of a book written by her mother. (For historical reference, Parent Trap, also starring Hayley Mills, was filmed the same year.) The story centers around three siblings, with Mills as the oldest, who live on a farm in England. The kids discover a man in their barn and through a series of coincidences, believe him to be Jesus. In actuality, the man is a murderer on the run from the law but the children treat him like he is the Christ and in the end, the fugitive gives up peacefully. Although we have some struggles with the English spoken by our brethren across the sea, my students enjoy the break from note taking and it's easy to draw parallels between our Christian walk and the movie and to think about the symbolism which permeates the entire black-and-white film.
About half way through Whistle Down The Wind, there's a scene set in Sunday school where a nice lady is over matched by twenty kids. During a question and answer session, Cathy (Hayley) asks the twenty-something year old teacher if Jesus would be crucified again if He made another appearance on Mother Earth. Not sure of how to approach the topic, the teacher says, "Well, the bad people would probably try again so the good people would have to try to prevent it." That struck a nerve with Cathy who, with the other children, was trying to hide Jesus from the adults because of what happened two thousand years ago. I didn't delve into the matter with my junior high kids but it raises a crucial point. Knowing that Jesus Himself stated that He came to give His life as a ransom for the masses, should we stand in the way? Would that be trying to interfere with the will of the Father to which Jesus submitted? It's a moot point and I know it's a movie but there is an application for us. Do we through our well-meaning intentions do more harm than good? In fact, that scenario from Whistle Down The Wind is not that far fetched. Isn't that what happened when Jesus told his men in Matthew 16 that He was going to be killed and Peter intervened? The Savior responded to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Peter thought he was doing right but his Master did not agree. In my life, I have to make sure I separate the things of men from the things of God. I have no desire to be the kind of stumbling block Peter was accused of being. Do you know where the title of the movie originated? It was based on a scene where a train whistle blew in the background after a bully forced a boy to deny three times he had seen Jesus. That same Peter played that real life scene in the Gospels. Sometimes, I think I model my spiritual life after the mistakes Peter made, too often acting before thinking. Watching a kids' movie can raise questions of an adult nature with adult implications and even a grown man can learn from them. God bless Hayley Mills for asking the tough questions.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I became an actress before I even thought about what I'd be when I grew up."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org