Just the Highlights

The trailer gave me goosebumps. I hadn’t expected that. I’d seen the movie years ago and knew the story well. Yet this modernised trailer, sharing glimpses of the raw emotion behind the real story, had me wanting to visit the cinema that minute to experience the whole thing again. The movie? The Lion King!

The original movie was released in 1994, over 20 years ago, and yet there was something about the new trailer that tapped deep into something of me. I had become reattached to characters within minutes by witnessing moments of pain, heroism and triumph, all mixed with a healthy dose of ‘hopes and dreams’. How easy it is in our own lives to try and control the story people see. Much easier to be the upbeat Sunday worshipper than the beaten Sunday sinner. Far more professional to be victorious than to be struggling with pain. The highlights trailer that we let people see demonstrates the level of trust we have within our own communities. The level to which we allow ourselves to be vulnerable is directly linked to how much we think we will still be accepted.

It is worse for leaders. We place them on pedestals, and they in turn respond by hiding everything about their faults in an attempt to attain that flawless character. From prime ministers spinning reality to church ministers preaching promise, there is only one truth: Everybody is broken.

To end on that one truth would be depressing to say the least, but nobody in their right mind would want to watch a movie where everybody was happy all the way through. We enjoy watching problems come to their swift resolution after a short burst of televisual entertainment, but struggle to be the solution when it demands a longer commitment.

Life is messy. People aren’t perfect. Humanity isn’t perfect and shouldn’t try to be. Perfection is not within our grasp.

The Good News?

Grace is.

Grace is tangible; we can feel it when we are forgiven by someone we’ve hurt; we can know it when we receive gifts beyond what we deserve; we can experience it and remember it and repeat it. Grace is real, and our loving Father, the only one who doesn’t just see the highlights but sees the whole story, offers us grace every second that we exist.

Even when finding people to trust in our communities can be hard, we can always turn to the God of Grace. He is there. He is present.

And I am forever grateful.

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