As I read and prep this week’s sermon, I’m reminded of a story I heard about the movie Goldmember. If you haven’t seen it, congratulations—it’s the final movie of the Austin Powers trilogy and nigh unwatchable, made right when Mike Myers decided the best way to make movies was to play more characters and not worry so much about writing a capable spoof of James Bond movies. However, the beginning of the movie is a pastiche sequence that would make Michael Bey drool—explosions and chases and a helicopter, and as Austin Powers ejects from the helicopter, and lands among the rubble, he’s played not by Myers, but Tom Cruise. “Yeah, baby,” he says over his thick-rimmed glasses. Gwyneth Paltrow pulls up on her motorcycle as the female agent; Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito are introduced as Dr. Evil and Mini-Me, respectively. It turns out to be a movie within a movie (what a shame!), directed by Stephen Spielberg. Then the terrible movie happens. At the end, though, it cuts back to the movie-within-the-movie and John Travolta is shown as the eponymous villain.
I bring this up not to rehash one of the most disappointing sequels ever, but because of an interview Mike Myers gave after. He and the writers were sitting around, riffing on what they could do, and they said, “Oh, yeah, okay; then the camera pans up and it’s Tom Cruise.” Realizing there were a thousand reasons why it wouldn’t work, they kept it in anyway, ready to settle for whatever they could get. And instead, every person they listed said yes, and shot one of the coolest throw-away sequences ever. It made a rather terrible movie bearable, at least for a bit.
If we cross-apply this to the realm of faith, discipleship and spirituality, what happens if we say the Holy Spirit is present with us, calling us to bolder, fuller lives, and asking us to work in this world to share the good news of resurrection? What happens not when the Holy Spirit shows up, but when we meet Her, embrace Her, and let Her lead us in something crazy?
I think I can say without reservation that last year was a beautiful, crazy year at Midway Hills. I am proud of our work in the Reign of God in 2015. And I am so looking forward to 2016, as we continue to seek the Spirit moving in us, through us and for us as we do justice, embrace diversity and be inclusive. This week in worship, we’ll be looking at another New Year’s Resolution—Eat Healthier and Diet—and talking about John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit and being fed spiritually, amongst other things. We’ll be seeing what happens when we cultivate a spirituality and faith that demands the response, “But that’s crazy!” Because we are. We are disciples of Jesus Christ, together.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday. Shalom y’all,