April 17

Be Still and Know that I am God
Director: David Kirkpatrick and Amy Reinhold. 2006. Run time: 93 minutes

This movie addresses the contemporary world directly in terms of Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”    It provides a series of reflective insights by people from various walks of life—authors, media personalities, and pastors. It guides us on how to live our inner life fully through contemplative prayer as an antidote to the sickening, hectic frenzied life style of today. It takes us through seven sections dealing with the subtopics: 1) Contemplative Prayer 2) Cloud of Witnesses 3) Being Still 4) Small Groups 5) Alone with The Lord 6) The Sound of Stillness 7) Contemplative Verses. Silence is a radical thing. Body heals better in silence, says Katherine A Brown Saltzman of UCLA Healthcare Ethics center. It makes us deal with ourselves and demands change and surrender. One of the speakers notes that there is a difference between Eastern and Western approaches to silence and meditation. In Eastern practice, meditation must lead to annihilation of the self. But in the Western (Christian) approach, it is “escape into God” and drawing inspiration from his word.  Being  ‘holy’  means attaining wholeness and health. We are afraid of quietness because it would demand confronting oneself. Contemplative prayer is not getting away from the world’s problems but a vital preparation to energize and to mend the world.  In silence and contemplative prayer, we feel “Cherished by the Father.”  He is with us and draws us to him. He gives us rest and we receive energy to do things. The word of God breathed into the human is ‘alive’ in the world today. First it was the spoken Word of the Old Testament; then it became flesh in Jesus and now speaks to us through the scriptures.   When we get involved with the world, life is lived in chaotic rush. But when we step back to seek his help, he lines up everything. Silence is possible and is to be practiced in the family and the church too. The film tells us the why and how of it. Ginny Owens provides the theme song which was inspired by the collective trauma which she shared after the 9/11 tragedy.

Risen
Director: Kevin Reynolds. Actors: Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth and Cliff Curtis, Maria Botto. 2016.  Runtime: 107 minutes

Risen is an engaging Biblical fiction based on the events that follow the crucifixion of Christ. It narrates the drama of the struggles of Centurion Clavius, a Roman Tribune who supervised the Crucifixion.  Tribune Clavius helps Pontius Pilate to successfully suppress a violent uprising in Palestine. He is assigned to oversee the Crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus) along with two thieves on Calvary. When the Body disappears from the sealed tomb while the drunken soldiers were asleep, he is under orders from Procurator Pontius Pilate to investigate the case and forestall any claims of a miracle by the followers and avoid another possible uprising in Jerusalem. Pilate knows that such an event would cost him the favor of Tiberius Caesar.  Clavius and his aide Lucius interrogate the guards at the tomb whose report he cannot believe. The centurion goes to Calvary and searches for dead bodies and brings an unidentified dead body to Pilate claiming it to be Joshua’s, but it is not confirmative. Clavius then seeks out Mary Magdalene and Apostle Bartholomew who confess their loyalty to the Messiah but cannot help him locate the body. Clavius and Lucius follow Magdalene to the Apostles’ hiding place.  He breaks in.  Here Clavius the agnostic encounters the Risen Christ at the moment when Jesus asks Apostle Thomas to touch his wounds and be convinced of his Resurrection.  It turns Clavius’ life upside down. As he says later: “I have seen two things which I cannot reconcile: A man dead without question and that same man alive again.” He joins the disciples to go to Galilee as per Jesus’ instructions.  But Lucius confronts him on the way for his disloyalty to Rome. Clavius disarms him and sends him on his way.  In Galilee he witnesses the miracles of the resurrected Lord and talks to him and believes. He is also witness to the Ascension. His allegiance to Rome is broken. In the closing sequences Clavius is seen confessing his faith and admitting that his life has changed.


Dr Gigy Joseph

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