Film Friday Reflection: The Dig

Ralph Fiennes perfectly embodies the deferential, self-taught excavator Basil Brown, in this true story of the sensational archaeological dig at Sutton Hoo in the late 1930s. As war looms, he sets about unearthing what is beneath the burial mounds on Edith Pretty’s land. She has wanted to know for a long time what might be found there. It’s a tale shot through with the questions of life and death. Early on Edith tells Basil about the ancient finger marks found when the explorers first opened Tutankhamen’s tomb, and she describes Brown’s mission as ‘digging down to meet the dead’. Later, Brown talks about the handprints we each leave behind in this life. Which is surely true. Fingerprint legacies. But is that the only way we live on? It seem to me that the great Christian hope is twofold… the presence of Jesus in our lives now to give us hope and help and purpose as we muddle through our days. And the enlarging of our worldview to encompass a whole other dimension and time frame beyond that which we can see or touch. We don’t just live on through the footprints we leave in this world, but through Jesus we have the promise of a whole other life, not merely pie in the sky, but the ever-present dimension of the kingdom of God, a much larger world, full of peace and compassion, transformation and respect. An eternal life which will one day break fully into this transient life, and one which will never end.

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