Theme: Caught between two worlds
Bible refs: Luke 9 v 28-36; John 11 vv 12-19; Philippians 2 vv 6-11
Location of clip: 7 mins 14 secs to 9 mins 53 secs
Part three of the Matrix Trilogy and there’s one thing you can count on – it’ll all be over in a couple of hours. People in black run a round a lot, on ceilings, pillars, cars and trains. There’s an awful lot of shooting and astronomical phone bills. The Oracle has changed colour, Agent Smith’s hiding inside some other guy and Neo’s inside the Matrix even though he isn’t jacked in. It’s all one glamorous computerised circus. And it’s loud enough to make your ears bleed. To be absolutely honest I have only a limited understanding of what it’s all about or why it happens (a bit like life really) – but for the use of this clip you don’t need to know. If you like sunglasses and bullets – enjoy.
Neo wakes up and finds himself at Mobil Ave, a place neither inside or outside the Matrix. He is in a crossover place. A place where the two worlds meet. If you’re going to take anything from one universe to the other than you have to do it through this place. He meets a family who explain this to him. Neo is astonished to discover that, although these people are just computer programmes they are acting out of love. Not only that, but they recognise that he is too.
For thirty-three years Jesus inhabited a strange world like this one at Mobil Ave. He was very much human, very much of this earth. But he knew of another world. A place much larger, much freer than earth. He stood in the middle and brought the two together. It must have been a lonely place for him. He was seriously misunderstood. He just didn’t fit in. He told stories people often derided or dismissed. He performed miracles as a sign, but people overlooked the signs and just put in a claim for a lot more of the miracles.
He had friends, but they often misunderstood him and in the end, rejected him. When he asked them on one occasion if they were going to leave him, along with the thousands of others who had turned away, they didn’t say: “No, of course not, we’re your best mates.” They said, “We can’t think of anywhere else to go…” A kind of backhanded word of encouragement, I suppose.
On the mountain of transfiguration they got a glimpse of the real Jesus, this man caught between heaven and earth. On palm Sunday they saw it again. For a short time the people on earth recognised the man from heaven. Oddly enough the clearest glimpse they got lasted for six hours and it was the time he impersonated a criminal. On that occasion it was bloody and brutal and only two people spotted what he was up to – a Roman solider, hated by the Jews, and another criminal who was dying next to this man from another world.
He chose this mission because of love. Or perhaps he didn’t choose – perhaps love has no choice. God is desperate to communicate with us. Desperate to nurture relationship with us. And if that meant putting himself in a lonely place, straddling two worlds in order to bring peace, then he was prepared to do it.
Jesus’s life was full of encounters like the one Neo has here. He met strangers all the time, and he always listened to them, respected them, and showed them love. He often engaged with women and children, unusual in his day. He even bestowed upon children the honour of making them the best example he could find of kingdom people. As a bloke I’m not that inspired by the idea that I have to become childish to enter the kingdom, but maybe Jesus was speaking of their outspoken honesty, their thirst for knowledge, their uninhibited actions. Nothing seems dangerous to little children, they’re not so bothered by peer pressure, life’s an adventure and they often just say it like it is.
1. Do you ever feel out of place, caught between two worlds?
2. Do you ever feel misunderstood by people close to you?
3. How do you treat strangers when you meet them?
4. Do you ever feel robbed of choice because of love? That you must do something because you care?
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?