Film Friday: The Dark Knight Rises

For all its bangs and crashes, and there are plenty of those in this Batman epic, the most telling and chilling scene occurs after the criminals have taken over the city of Gotham. Innocent folk are dragged to an oddly decorative chair, before a corrupt and merciless judge, in a court devoid of justice. The only verdict each time is death or exile. And exile means death. If ever there was a need for the dark knight to rise, this is the time. Truth and mercy have been flipped on their head. Chaos reigns. We need sense and compassion back in the driving seat. It reminded me of those countries where oppression is the order of the day. Where the innocent are trampled and the weak pushed aside. In too many places corruption and self-interest fog the corridors of power, and even good leaders can get overwhelmed by events or lost in a maze of wrong turns. In his book Men Behaving Badly, author John Goldingay suggests that humans were never designed to lead a whole nation or country. The job is just too big. Which is why any leader will fall short and be an easy target for criticism. We don’t have the ability or resources. A task so big it’s beyond us. We might as well ask a person to flap their arms and fly. We’re just not designed to do that. The prophet Daniel saw a leader who is equipped to guide nations. A son of man. A person with the calibre to lead with truth and justice, honour, peace, faithfulness and compassion. Goldingay suggests that leadership is ultimately God’s role. And Jesus demonstrated that it begins, not with wielding power, but washing feet. Cherishing people. Listening to them and responding to their crucial needs. Let’s pray for our leaders, and for those who feel disregarded, overpowered, damaged even, by those of us who are more powerful.

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