Friday, 5 August 2011

An Eye for Life

I have just experienced a wonderful juxtaposition of art expressing life. On Wednesday evening Lorna and I saw the production of Titus Andronicus at Stratford. Then last night (Thursday) we took in Terrance Mallick's film 'The Tree of Life'. This happenstance - perhaps a bit of synchronicity at work - was an exploration of the ways in which grace and redemption that are possible but by no means guaranteed in life.

Titus is an exploration of revenge and the complete destruction that can occur when the god of revenge is unleashed. The destruction is almost complete with all the characters except one falling to the god by the time the violence and mayhem end in the closing scene.

It reminded me of the fact that 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' is found in the bible (Matt 5: 38) as part of the beatitudes . Jesus is telling us to move beyond that form of Justice. However, we need to be reminded that originally the concept of an eye for an eye (Deuteronomy 19:21) was part of the Mosaic Law and was a step forward in justice. Before that vengeance was the norm in which there were no constraints on actions in response to a wrong. These consequences of this are so well demonstrated in Titus.

The Tree of Life shows us the other way. In the movie Mallick gives us a picture of creation from Genesis to Revelation. He gives us the vision of how the ruling principle of life - God's love can bring redemption and reconciliation for the wrongs and missteps that we humans are heir to. It is a wonderfully comedy in the Shakespearean sense in which all is restored to its proper relationship as God intended it.

That is the true mystery and grace of God’s world. Thanks be to Blog and God.

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