30 Years Watching the JESUS Film


"What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies." 
-- Thomas Cranmer

          We showed the JESUS film in town last week and I realized it’s exactly the 30th year since I first took part in showing the film on a 16mm projector in Mangaldan, Pangasinan as a college freshman.  

           That experience would be followed as a projectionist mostly during summer mission trips in Bolinao and San Nicolas in Pangasinan, Bangued in Abra, Tagudin in Ilocos Sur, Laoag in Ilocos Norte and Baggao in Cagayan; also, once during a Christmas break in Kiangan, Ifugao and once with Ma'am Vicky Rico at the Baguio City Jail in one of her prison ministry visits.  

          In most of these events, we would have showings at least 3 times in a span of one week.  I’ve watched the film in the original (English) language and in 3 dubbed languages -- Ilocano, Tagalog, and Bikol, yet I never grow tired of watching the film.

           Incidentally, my recent devotion is in the gospel of Luke, the same book that the JESUS film is based on.

           A lot of times I feel less than zealous about sharing God's unfathomable love and forgiveness.  Sometimes maybe out of sheer exhaustion, sometimes maybe because of life's daily concerns, or sometimes maybe because of outright laziness.  

          But then, Luke 11:23 nudges me as our Lord Jesus speaks:  "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters."  

           Here, the Lord Jesus asks us to take sides.  Choosing not to take a side IS choosing a side.

           Sometimes I just want to pass.  But our Lord says if we are not among those who gather (that is, we don't participate in the work and privilege of sharing the Gospel), then we are not merely passive believers, but we are actually among those who scatter.  Roughly translated to our national language, "kapag hindi ako tumutulong sa pagtipon, isa ako sa nagkakalat."  Hard to swallow.

            According to Thomas Cranmer, "What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies."  Whatever our hearts fancy, that we will choose to pursue, and we will find reasons to justify, no matter how far they actually are from God's priorities.  

           The holy week has ended but our mission stays the same.  May we end this week of meditation with a renewed commitment to return to our first love (Rev. 2:4) and to what He has commissioned us to do.

           May the Good Lord, by His grace, equip, motivate, and be with us.  Amen.

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