This is a grim film, about an FBI agent who finds herself plunged into America’s battle against the smuggling of drugs into the U.S. from Mexico. It’s not all that clear to her what is going as she tags along with members of the Drugs Enforcement Agency to capture and bring back one of the bad guys. But as they near the border, and find themselves stuck in traffic, it becomes clear that an attack from the drug smugglers is imminent…
This one of the most tense traffic jams you’re likely to see! But joking aside, this film reminds me of this – there are some very dark corners in the world. Organisations and people who have plummeted to the very depths of life in order to line their own pockets, having lost any sense of right and wrong. This can be chilling and depressing, but it is nothing new. Time and again the writers of that great biblical songbook, The Psalms, sing of their struggles with evil people. They long for peace and justice and kindness, yet see evil flourishing around them. The good people suffer while the wicked prosper. And in response the writers are not afraid to batter on God’s door, demanding answers. How long will this go on? When will the evil doers cease to rule?
‘Although the wicked flourish like weeds, and evildoers blossom with success, there is only eternal destruction ahead of them. But you are exalted in the heavens. You, O LORD, continue forever. Your enemies, LORD, will surely perish; all evildoers will be scattered.’ Psalm 92 vv 7-9
Like us, they long for a day when God will destroy the evil in the world and set it back on its original course of life and beauty, creativity and wholeness. The Bible offers no easy answers about the triumph of good over evil. Only the promise that one day all will be put right. But the characters in the Bible constantly battle, as we do, with the injustices of this broken world. One day, say the Psalm writers, evil will flourish no more.
Jesus’s death on the cross began something new in this battle, something profound and everlasting. He triumphed over absolute darkness and depravity, taking the worst of the world upon himself. Yet, after the resurrection, when his followers asked him if the time had come to evict the brutal Romans from their land and restore peace, he said to them, ‘The Father sets those dates,’ he replied, ‘and they are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ (See Acts 1 vv 6-8) Jesus’s death and resurrection seems to have started a whole new way of bringing light into darkness, and one which invites us to be a part of carrying that hope. That’s a big ask! Not least when we see films like Sicario.
But Jesus also spoke of his heavenly Father seeing the little things we do, assuring us that every good deed matters and makes a difference, whether big or small. (See Matthew 6 vv 3-4) It’s a challenge. I would like Christianity to be about making me happier and better. But it’s also very much about being a part of the ongoing work of God in this world, until the day when his kingdom comes in full, when all things will be made new, and all of life will be restored; and pain, sadness, tyranny and tears will be gone forever. (See Revelation 21)