Film Friday Reflection: Official Secrets

We recently re-watched Official Secrets, a film based on the true story of Katharine Gun. Whilst working at GCHQ she saw an email about the U.S. and the U.K. attempting to coerce other smaller U.N. nations to vote for going to war in Iraq. Torn in two by her loyalty to her job and her sense of justice she wrestled with what to do about this. Eventually she told a friend and anti-war campaigner. Things took on a life of their own and before Katharine knew what was happening the email had been published in the Observer. Everything fell apart, and the life she knew fell away from her. Here she is seeking legal help, after admitting she was the leak…

This is a film which stirs up those questions about fighting for justice and doing the right thing. I wrote a little about that here in a previous reflection – https://davehopwood.com/2019/11/film-friday-official-secrets/ – ‘Let Justice roll down like a river…’ Amos cried out in his book (in chapter 5 verse 24). What I wanted to reflect on now though was the way life often seems beyond our control. Things run away from us, our sense of being in control founders, life becomes too big to handle. I guess many of us have felt that this year. We are reminded of our fragility. Which was always there, but before we felt we had a sense of order and regularity about things.

Anything can upend our living. Life is precarious. Which is why, I guess, Jesus encouraged us to build on something solid. Not of our own making, but of God’s. In the Bible, time and again, people find things have run away from them. In Jesus’s day life was controlled by the Romans, there was an intense desire for freedom, for control, for peace. Which is why, on Palm Sunday, the crowds lined the streets hailing Jesus as the new king, the one who would solve their problems. But Jesus knew that life is always going to be unruly for us, he lived through many troubles himself, and he offered us another way. A daily centring back on him. The solid foundation amidst the storms and uncertainty. The one who can guide, strengthen and comfort us in our trouble and fear. ‘Don’t bother with religion,’ he once said, ‘it’ll only wear you out. Instead bring your lives to me, and find purpose and strength and rest from your exhausting burdens. Find another way to cope, another way to make it through today.’ Matthew chapter 11 v 25-30.

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