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Moderator’s Musings - Easter 2024Published 27 Mar 2024

Moderator’s Musings - Easter 2024 Click to enlarge

Dear Friends

If you want to watch a film about the life of Jesus over this Easter period you will find that there are over 25 titles to choose from.  Some are satirical like “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” whilst others like Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” try to realistically depict the the last week in the life of Jesus as recorded by the Gospel writers.   Mel Gibson’s film uses Hebrew, Greek and Latin in the dialogues but despite this, is the highest grossing religious film in the USA!

I must confess that I have been somewhat cynical about using film to portray Jesus’ life history until I came across the film “Jesus of Montreal”.

 As the name implies, the film is set in Quebec and was written and directed by Denis Arcand.  It first featured in 1989 and won a number of awards including the Cannes Grand Prix and the Cannes Jury prize.  The film centres around Daniel, a young and gifted actor who is hired by a Roman Catholic Priest (Father Leclerc) to re-work a passion play that is annually held in the grounds of a hillside shrine overlooking Montreal.   Daniel recruits an unlikely group of four actors as the cast  - a single mother (the priest’s secret mistress), a model who has never done any serious acting, a middle aged man who does ‘voice overs’ for porn films and an odd character who longs to perform in Shakespeare’s Hamlet!

The film draws you in to seeing how, in the process of creating the passion play, the last week of Jesus’ life is depicted in an unusual and often shocking way.  This portrayal is not for the faint hearted!  As one critic at the time said:

“It's an original and uncompromising attempt to explore what really might happen, if the spirit of Jesus were to walk among us in these timid and materialistic times.”

Roger Ebert

(Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.)

There is a dramatic climax at the film’s ending when Jesus’ death is portrayed as leading to a new way to look at life and a new heart for living life to the full.    I would encourage you to view the film to see how this is achieved!

The Easter story continually reminds us that the Christian message is about new beginnings and that even in the dark times of the current world situation, there is the hope and the opportunity to experience Christ’s resurrection power in our own lives and in the life of the church!

Happy Easter!  Roger Sturrock (Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery) 2024