Today we celebrate the rising to new life of the Christ. The revelation of God’s continual work in the world. It is a new dawn. A new beginning. You might have been surprised at the choice of Divergent for a film this Lent and Easter. But it has plenty to say to us – despite it’s very teenage appearance and apparent thrilling action adventure genre. Underneath the gloss coating from the film company of running, jumping, killing, climbing trees, repeat ad infinitum; is an astute look at culture and about who we are as humans and about how we treat others and about a journey towards self discovery realising that we are not just individuals, but connected. Realising who we are is not just one thing, but many interconnected complex parts. In the wilderness world of Divergent where we began in the first week of Lent we see the characters coming to terms with who they were in their world, trying to find their way and find their place – their faction. Worrying they won’t fit in or that they might end up as outcasts or ignored as unimportant. In Divergent these who don’t fit are named as faction-less. In our society they have many names, but they are always the ones who are blamed for the ills of the world. Jesus spent his time on earth with these rather than the elite or the theologically educated. The ones who were outcast or who were scapegoated. Those whose faces didn’t fit the picture that the authorities wanted to paint.
To be whole, healed requires first an understanding that we are broken and that we need healing.
In divergent we hear “I Don’t want to be just one thing” – I want to be Selfless and Brave and Clever and Honest and Kind.
Human nature is blamed as the problem. The solution – get rid of what we don’t understand rather than trying to see from another perspective.
So can we look beyond what we see? Can we see the true stories behind each person we encounter – at each meeting?
Can we look beyond the outward appearance of the film Divergent and see the world it is portraying behind it? Easter gives us a new way of seeing, reveals to us a truth about the world. When we see a homeless person on the street, what do we think? When we encounter someone on benefits what is our reaction? What about someone with a mental health illness? Or with issues with drugs, alcohol, money, food, people from a different race to us or a different religion. In fact anything that stigmatises or has a stereotype attached to it. Looking through the cross of Jesus we can see differently. Damascus is a name we know from the bible, but we might not know that this is right now yet another place of violence and terror, where Palestinians once again stand against an armed and violent regime. Much as they did in the time of Jesus who was of course a Palestinian Jewish man. Redemptive violence never wins it only leaves more people broken. Can we look beyond the headlines to see the real stories. We can if we use the cross and the life of Jesus as our guide.
To quote a line from Trevor Dennis Easter is fresh from God being in the world. It is like a sunny day after a rain storm, a new fresh crisp spring dawn. The air is clear. It is the new creation it is time to begin to see differently. We can begin to look beyond the stereotype the world gives us to the real stories behind them, stories of ordinary folk like us. This is the new dawn. Jesus reveals God’s whole self on the cross.
Divergent tells another story, a hidden one, if only we have the eyes to see it, the eyes of Jesus. Seeing through the crucifixion, we are able to glimpse the realm of God on earth where everything is different. Everything is seen in terms of compassion – suffering together. Who are we willing to suffer with? Easter is the new dawn, don’t let it go. Capture the moment and allow it to fill us with God’s freshness and crucified love for the world.