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god and man

So my last post ended with the Bruce Almighty Quote “Be the miracle”.

Bruce Almighty is a film that has many associations for me. I saw it with a good friend on a lovely weekend away – but on my return home I discovered my mum was ill and she passed away just one month later. So this is the last film I saw where I existed in a world that still had my mum in it. And it was fresh in my mind when I was earnestly praying for a miracle that would somehow save her. And it was fresh in my mind when she had gone and I was asking why. And it was fresh in my mind when I was looking for the way Forward in how I could best serve God in the midst of my unutterable loss. I actually love the film and its message, and know it still has things to say to me. Largely because its message was something mum believed in, because she died clutching on to the hope that following Jesus gives, because she spent herself working for His kingdom and I can do nothing less.

So here we have a quite lovely story wherein the titular Bruce encounters God in a very real, powerful and personal way. The story looks at the nature of God himself, balancing perceptions, misconceptions and the real truth of God. It also looks at the nature of Man and His inherent rebelliousness and outlines for us the pathway that a man takes when he goes from selfish rebelion to serving in discipleship.

It’s a great illustration of the fact that being God has actually very little to do with Power and much more to do with Character. Despite what we are initally shown, it’s pretty clear that Bruce doesn’t become God – he uses the power to promote self, to put others down and for his own pleasure. He’s still the selfish and self absorbed man who can’t seem to see the needs of those around him. In contrast God (The legend that is Morgan Freeman) accepts service as a given, enjoys the company of his Friends, takes rebellion seriously and has love at His core.

Bruce’s story is essentially the story of all of us – the story that started at Adam and Eve, reaches a turning point in Jesus and Climaxes with the end of the age. You see Bruce thinks he knows the answers, he wants to be in charge of his own life, “If I had the power, I could sort things out in a minute.” He has the arrogance, just as Adam and Eve did, to be convinced that he in fact can be God – this Pride, the desire to be our own little God is the true original sin (anyone who tells you it was all about sex is flat out wrong). It’s only when he accepts that he must surrender control that his real relationship with God begins and that’s the first step in his – and our – descipleship.

Wrapped up in the story are many little peeks into the nature of God and the creation he has charge of and what it means to really follow him – glimpses into the power of true prayer, the real life consequences of selfishness, the importance of relationship, God’s affection for us and God’s frustration with us. And then right at the end you see the Homeless man who has been popping up throughout the film with various wise sayings on a cardboard sign. And you see that He has been God all along – showing the truth that God is here with us in every person we meet, more so in the poor destitute and lonely. Be the Miracle for these folk, Pray for them and get stuck in with actual factual practical help.

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