Theme: Life with God
Bible refs: Luke 14 vv 28-33
Location of clip: 1hr 49 mins and 46 secs to 1hr 51 mins and 41 secs
This is Cinderella by another name.
Edward is rich and ruthless. On a visit to Los Angeles he meets hooker Vivian and picks her up. However, Edward is lonely, and instead of the usual one night stand, he’s looking for woman to spend a week with him. He needs a girl on his arm when he attends all those function for the rich and famous. They haggle over the price and eventually strike a deal. Vivien spends a week living the high life. Edward discovers there’s more to living than making money and dismantling other people’s businesses.
Against all the odds they fall in love.
This is the romantic climax of the movie. Just when Vivien thinks her dream lover has returned to reality and given up on her for good, a stretch limo rolls up outside her apartment and a handsome man in a grey suit steps out of the back seat. Richard has come back for her. He climbs the fire escape towards her window and she in turn leaps out and begins to climb down towards him. They meet halfway and, clenched in each other’s arms, he says to her, “So what happens when the knight rescues the princess?” And she says to him, “She rescues him right back.”
Richard turns up like a knight in a shining limo come to rescue Princess Vivian – and it all ends happily ever after. Or does it? Do we imagine for one minute that two people from different worlds can just kiss and make-up and ride off into the sunset.
These people come from entirely different solar systems. Vivian’s from planet prostitute, Richard’s from the glamorous world of high finance. Things may look rosy at this moment of much-kissing on the fire escape, but if Richard and Vivien are to have a real relationship there’s an awful lot of hard work waiting for them round the corner. The kind of work that doesn’t make exciting viewing… So, we won’t bother with the sequel.
God turns up, rather like Richard, or Prince Charming, or Shrek, and he climbs the fire escape and rescues us from that nasty tower and all those evil dragons. But if we think the relationship is going to be easy – we’ve got another think coming. We come from entirely different worlds. God and people have very different backgrounds. Somehow we have to work out how the two of us are going to live together. Perhaps that is why some people can’t keep moving on with God, because the journey is not what they expected. Adjusting to life with God has many honeymoon moments, but there are also plenty of dark corners and unexpected turns in the road.
God is prepared for this, and it never surprises him.
Jesus advised his followers not to begin the journey until they had thought things through. No king goes to war,’ he said, ‘unless he is sure he can win.’ This was a powerful picture for the people of his day, many of them wanted to go to war with Rome – an extremely difficult battle to win. Or,’ he said, looking at Herod’s attempts to win the people’s favour by building them a huge Disneyland-style temple complex, ‘no builder begins work unless he has worked out he has the resources for the job.’
Two very contemporary picture for the people of his day. He wanted them to think realistically about this Pretty Woman picture – God and people building a new life together.
1. Have you been surprised by the nature of your journey with God?
2. What difficulties lie ahead in this parable of Richard and Vivien?
3. Are there parallels here with your relationship with God?
4. In an earthly relationship there are often recurring problems, do you find this in your relationship with God?
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?