Film Friday Reflection: West Side Story

‘There’s a place for us, somewhere, a place for us… peace and quiet and open air, wait for us there… we’ll find a new way of living… a way of forgiving…’ Beautiful words expressing the kind of longing we all must have at times, for something more, something better. Sung in the original 1961 film by lovers Tony and Maria, but sung in this new version by Valentina, who runs the coffee shop where the Jets hang out. She reflects on her life and her late husband and on the lives of these troubled young adults. Here she is played by Rita Moreno, and she also starred in the ‘61 film as the feisty Anita singing, ‘La la la la la America!’ Time passes (60 years since the original won 10 Oscars) and yet people stay the same. Same longings, same fears, same hopes, same troubles. Just dressed in different clothes. ‘I’m going to prepare a place for you…’ Another famous line, but not this time from a song. A promise, as a carpenter from Nazareth prepared to give his life to open a door for his friends and enemies. A way froward so they could begin to discover a new way of living. Fulfilling the promise of his birth, life, conversations and relationships. He would go away for three days and when he came back through death’s door nothing would be the same. All our yearnings, all our bittersweet songs would find a place in him. ‘…a new way of living… a way of forgiving…’ We can take a step with him each day in this life, with all our muddling and meandering, towards a new future and a time when a better day will dawn. Not so much pie in the sky, but hope for the now, and strength for the trekking. Ultimately there will be a better place for us, one without the turmoil and unhappiness. And that hope begins in Jesus, the God who has stepped into our lives, and invites us into his.

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  1. Mark Roques says:

    Great post Dave. I’ve never seen West Side Story but I must see it after reading your posting.

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