Film Friday: The Children Act

Fiona is a brilliant judge so caught up with her work that she cannot see how much her marriage is on the rocks. When her husband Jack tells her he loves her but is seriously thinking about having an affair she is horrified. He just wants to win her back, but she does not seem to know how to come back to him. Meanwhile she is faced with a very difficult case, a seventeen-year-old boy – a minor – who is refusing to have a life-saving blood transfusion because of his faith.

With her personal life in upheaval, Fiona goes to see seventeen-year-old Adam to find out if he understands his parents’ decision to refuse the blood transfusion. She finds a boy who is quirky, good-natured, musical and impressed that she should come and visit him. They talk, he jokes, then just as she is leaving she notices his guitar and they end up singing together. Adam and his family believe that the life of a person, their very essence resides in the blood, and that it is wrong to mix one person’s blood with another’s. In the end, Fiona must decide the boy’s fate, and her decision comes to rest on his humanity as much as his beliefs.

It’s so easy to reduce faith in God down to a list of dos and don’ts, rule and regs, as if our Creator is a Health and Safety Inspector. Jesus got into trouble with those who wanted to police life in his day, as he kept breaking the man-made rules. Of course healthy life needs its instructions, but these are to make us more human, not less. When Moses came down that mountain with the commandments from God, those ‘rules’ were all about what it meant to be human. These people had been slaves all their lives, treated as objects, now it was time for Moses to teach them about the true humanity bestowed on us by God. St Augustine once said, ‘The glory of God is a human being fully alive.’ This or course most clearly seen in Jesus. But it’s a call and reminder to us all, we serve a God who made people to know him and love him, to care and flourish, to respect and grow. Not merely to fulfil a set of instructions. Not merely to be computers performing to a set of algorithms. Fiona’s life is falling apart because she has lost sight of the love in her marriage. In Adam she finds a young man caught between the demands of his beliefs and the colour and vigour oozing from the life bestowed upon him. The call if you like to be fully alive. We are all damaged, all broken and veering off life’s true course. But in Jesus we find direction, purpose, guidance, forgiveness and the means to live life a little more fully.

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