Film Friday: The Last Bus

In this understated tale a quiet yet determined elderly gent, Tom, embarks on a mission, which takes him on the country’s longest bus ride, from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. There is a moment when Tom finds himself sat between two gangs of late-night revellers. Two crowds of young women and young guys taunt each other by raucously riffing on various songs, so a local drunk invites Tom to join in with their own song. The bus station falls quiet as Tom sings Amazing Grace. At the end no one speaks, and there is a momentary sense of hush and awe. Earlier, when a man on one of the buses starts harassing a female traveller and her son, Tom intervenes, only to find himself pushed backwards onto the floor. This however outrages the other travellers who stand up and demand the young man get off. Which he does. On another occasion, when Tom is told his bus pass isn’t valid, another passenger offers to pay his fare. Three moments of unexpected grace. Tom Shadyac, the director of Bruce Almighty, once said that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. I believe that God is often at work in the unexpected and ‘ordinary’. In the moments like these. The calming effect of amazing grace in a bus station; the courage of one person defending another, and so drawing courage from others; and the generosity of a stranger offering to help. Grace at work. God turning up in the lives of others. We can perhaps spiritualise something like ‘grace’ and yet it is ultimately an earthy thing. Found in the life of God with skin on, as he brought calm to fraught situations, as he generously reached out and helped strangers time after time, and as he drew courage, strength and purpose from others. I’m convinced that the next time any of us do something which makes life a little better… the Creator of the ages will be right there, present in us, and in our words and actions. The king of kindness at work in us and through us.

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