Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The Passion

I did it. Despite my misgivings, I went to see Mel Gibson's "The Passion" on Monday night. The parking lot at the theater was nearly empty, but the theater was half full. I walked in as the movie opened with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. I came prepared with a pocket full of tissues and didn't even stop at the concession counter as I usually do.

I was surprised to hear the crunching of popcorn during the opening scenes. How is this "entertainment"? I didn't intend to be entertained, but to be stunned and shocked and horrified. And when I prepare for those emotions, I don't need popcorn.

I didn't cry until Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was portrayed. On a much smaller scale, I know that feeling of wanting to protect your child and of wanting to avoid the inevitable. I also realized with a shock that part of Jesus' agony was knowing that those he loved had to endure his loss--I've thought before that I just cannot die and cause my children that kind of loss.

The violence was as graphic and horrifying as reported, but overall, I found the movie more moving and intense emotionally than I expected. Using a visual representation of Satan was effective.

All in all, I am glad I viewed it, even though afterwards my head hurt from crying and from the tension. I knew how it would end--with the Resurrection--yet the journey up the hill to Golgotha was agonzing to watch. I heard in my head Mel Gibson's description of the movie--"it's about the Passion of Christ--and twelve seconds of the Resurrection." So, as soon as the final scene came on and the credits began to roll, I bolted out of there. I sat near the front of the crowd, yet I was the first one out the door.

I cried in the car, then decided I really had to get myself together so I could stop by the store and pick up some milk. That's exactly what I did. I suppose the people in the store thought I was having a crisis of some sort with my blotchy face and red eyes.

When I got home, my husband and I fell into our usual routine of sarcastic humor. He complained about there being too many pillows on the bed and I made a comment about him being overly critical. He said, "I can see that movie really changed you." And when he made another critical comment, I called him Mr. Critical and commented that the movie really changed him, too.

Seriously, there is no way you could live in a constant state of hyper-awareness about Christ's sacrifice for mankind. You would surely implode. But it is good to venture to the outside of your self occasionally to glimpse the greater reality.


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