Friday, August 18, 2006

Lady in the Water -
Searching for Meaning and Hope

A few weeks ago my daughter and I along with one of her friends saw "Lady In The Water". Personally I was really moved by it. M. Night Shyamalan (Signs, Sixth Sense, The Village) was the director, and in my mind did a credible story telling job despite what some of the critics are saying about it.

Now I admit that technically "Lady In the Water" was somewhat weak. It was not Shyamalan's best work, and "The Village" still represents Shyamalan at his best as a movie maker. However, whatever its weaknesses, the story that is told in "Lady In The Water" makes the movie worth seeing.

I have read the Christianity Today review of "The Lady In the Water" and I believe the reviewer missed the point. The story is not about the myth that was being deciphered as much as it was about those involved in the deciphering. The myth provided the working framework for the real story.

Once again we have a picture of broken and disillusioned people seeking for a reason to once again have hope and purpose... To sense a connectedness to life and to what is going on in the world so that they might once again have a sense of purpose. Remember Mel Gibson as the disillusioned Priest in "Signs"? There is that same kind of thing in "Lady In The Water".

It is in such stories as "Lady In The Water that Shyamalan illustrates for us how the false hopes of rational modernity are shattered on the rocks of reality to be replaced by the cynicism and disillusionment of Post-Modernity. Things come into the world, be they ghosts or aliens or creatures of mythology that defy the rational materialism of Modernity, and in doing so the disconnected are once again able to find the connectedness they had lost.

Yes, that world view tends to be a vague form of New Age pantheism, but the reality behind it is the connectedness we once had in Creation before the fall, the sense of purpose and belonging and of fitting into a Story much bigger and expansive then what we see around us. That connectedness and belonging was first lost in the Fall which is Chapter 2 of the Story..

It is in Chapter 3 of the Story, the Chapter titled Redemption, where there is the beginning of the restoration of connectedness and belonging which brings with it restored hope and purpose. Consummations is yet to come in Chapter 4 where connectedness and purpose are fully realized.

Shyamalan gives us pictures of the void that is in the heart of mankind due to sin and the fall. Many false gods vie to fill that void. Their promise is a lie and a fraud. That void can only be filled by the One who originally created us; who became one with us in His incarnation and filled the great chasm with His own death, rising again from the dead, and one day coming back to restore full connectedness, belonging, and purpose...

Come quickly Lord Jesus!

~ The Billy Goat ~

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