Thursday, December 1, 2011


Watch the scene to the end. The key to it is the phrase, "Maybe we don't 
have any experience with miracles so we're slow to recognize them."

The movie Grand Canyon is twenty years old now, but I still think it resonates with our culture. Grand Canyon didn't do that well at the box office and as far as I remember was panned by the critics. I think it spoke the truth about our spiritually impoverished culture. The story features an ensemble cast representing people from all walks of life in LA. The question for each of them is the same: "is this all there is?"

The theme of the movie is the futility of modern life. In LA, urban life is squalid and dehumanizing for rich and poor alike. Our marvelous, modern, high-tech world has become a terrifying nightmare. It is self-evident that the world is not working the way it ought to. Life, as our culture has defined it, is random, purposeless, lonely, empty, short, brutal, nasty and nearly hopeless. The characters in the story experience the futility of knowing they could contribute to a better world, yet fail to act out of pride or selfishness.

There are two symbols of hope in the movie. The first is the "rescuing stranger" who appears frequently as a sign of hope from out of nowhere. The second is the Grand Canyon itself, which stands as a symbol of majestic creation, and ultimately of God.

Like the book of Ecclesiastes, Grand Canyon is a proto-gospel, crying out that we are missing something.  Honestly, when I saw this at the theater I had a nearly overwhelming urge to stand up and give and invitation to Christ as the credits rolled.

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