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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Power of Roots - a film review of "Lion"

Image result for lion film"Lion" or "La la Land?" 
The choice was between "La La Land" or "Lion". A film based on a real life story always wins the day for me, unromantic as that may be!

The title "Lion" gives no insight into the film - and indeed could put some people off - if they thought the film was about some feline species. The title is taken from the name of the main character, Saroo, who one day learns that his name means "lion."

This is a wonderful story and a great film.....

Miles from Home
As a little boy in India, Saroo ends up lost, separated from his irresponsible brother Guddu, on a train and then more than a thousand miles from home. At the other end of the journey he gets picked up by a government adoption agency (none of the film is complimentary towards the way children are treated in India, I'm afraid; Saroo only narrowly misses being trapped in the sex trade), and ends up being adopted in Australia. He grows up as a fully blown Aussie, surf board and all. His new parents are devoted to him and under their love he flourishes as a young man eniding up in the world of business.

As he grows into his teens, and it seems especially when he falls in love, memories of his first family  rise to the surface and grow, until his one passion in life, is to find  his original family and return to them. He imagines them looking for him every day and can't bear that thought: he must tell them he is alive. 

One day, using his childhood memories, Saroo discovers the aerial image of his village and house on Google Earth (did they fund this film?) He sets out alone to return. Of course things are different. Guddu, the brother who had negligently left him at a railway station for a while, has been killed by a train, but he finds his mother and sister and is emotionally reunited with them.

The film finds its resolution here: home is where childhood unfolds.

The power of roots
Childhood memories shape us  because what we experience when we enter the world is imprinted upon our minds. Early memories and experiences are seared into our brains.

How vital it is, then, that parents care for their children well in these early years. Along with Saroo, the loving Australian couple adopted another lad who had been abused as a child - and that experience scarred him for the whole of his life. Abuse in the first years of life scars deeply, and perhaps irreversibly. 

In the spiritual realm it is much the same. When someone is just converted they need the highest levels of care and love in order to grow into a strong healthy follower of Christ. I know Christians whose whole future Christian life was messed up because they had poor examples of "mature  Christians" in their first tender, impressionable years of walking with God. Perhaps this side of heaven, they will never fully recover.

Jesus sets the example
Jesus sets the example - he spent many many long hours with just 12 men loving, teaching, protecting them from false teachers and setting an exemplary life before them.   This can't be done "once on a Sunday" or "in a crowd" but requires intense -  even daily - attention and care.

Marred by fornication
Tragically, this film, like so many others of our day is marred by the sin of fornication. Saroo has a girlfriend and the viewer needs to know he is sleeping with her without being married to her. No Christian should fail to notice these common movie sins, no Christians should "get used to sin". All sex outside of marriage is sinful.

The Ultimate Home
Saroo does not really find peace. In fact going back to his roots has made the situation worse: now he has two families, two roots, one in Australia and one in India: which one should he spend his days with? The idea that ultimate security can be found in our birth family - or in family of any kind - will always leave us empty, for families come and families go and mankind was never designed to find ultimate rest in earthly families.

God placed Adam and Eve in a garden to be with himself.  God was always meant to be our home, God is the end of the journey, heaven  our ultimate home. To look for ultimate happiness in any earthly community will always - must always considering how we have been made - lead to futility and emptiness.

Jesus said "Come to me... and you will find rest for your souls..."