Monday, November 13, 2006

Feasting on Love and Cookies

He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:12-14

Last night went to the movies with Petra. During the previews, we were treated to scenes from "Mel Gibson's Apocalypto," which confirmed for me yet again that the man need therapy and needs it now. The main attraction was movie that I expected to be a piece of fluff: "Stranger than Fiction," which confused me even with the members of its cast (Will Ferrell: frat boy gross-out king; Emma Thompson: elegant Jane Austen heroine). "Stranger Than Fiction" turned out to be one of the most lovely, moving things I've seen on the screen in a long time.

It is the story of someone who is only half living, when the sudden appearance of a narrator's voice in his head alerts him to the fact that, in fact, he is soon to die. Unfortunately for him, his life has just begun to blossom: he has fallen in love with a tattooed baker who feeds him cookies and swoons over his efforts to learn guitar (finally). He consults a therapist (who tells him he is schizophrenic: thank God there were no therapists throughout most of church history. Julian... Francis... John... Teresa... but I digress...). Then he consults an expert in literature, which is more helpful. Ultimately, the choice is between definitions of the good life-- which things we must choose, embrace, which we must let go, what it is to be, finally, at the bounteous table.

Just as at the movies last night, I am caught in the tension between all the apocalyptic catastrophe and the feast imagery the lectionary offers up these last days of the church calendar. I know where I find my hope. Maybe not literally in "cookies" (though, boy, Petra and I left the theater salivating). But I do keep my eye and hope on the banquet. On life. Lived.


steve westby said...

Mags, please try to have patience with those of us called to be therapists. We can be a silly, ignorant lot at times, mistaking holiness for craziness, etc.

In other words, we have a knack for missing God's calls for our world and our lives at times.

Which I suppose, makes us...say, about the same as virtually all of the rest of humanity! =)

Thanks for the post. I pray for us all, but particularly for those in my profession. I should think remembering a sense of humility in the face of the world's grandeur is a fitting reminder for us.

Magdalene6127 said...

Oh Steve! Not therapists like _you_, who regularly display your openness to the liminal spaces of human experience!

Wow... never meant that.

The movie is great though. And Linda Hunt plays the therapist, so I forgive her because she's so cool.


steve westby said...

Hi Mags! Just wanted to make sure I clarified that I took no offense from your remarks. Actually, I was just thinking about how we are all vulnerable to missing God's call to us, and how therapists are no more immune to that difficulty than anyone else.


Anonymous said...

I also loved this movie. And I hadn't thought about the blessings of no therapists in the first century. (At least the not-like-steve kind.)