Week and Easter 2006
will tell you a mystery! … 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'”
--I Corinthians 15:51, 54 (NRSV)
are frequently asked for their take on movies with religious subject
matter or themes. I've already been asked whether or not I plan to see the
soon to be released "The Da Vinci Code". The movie is based on
the book of the same name by Dan Brown. "The Da Vinci Code" is
something of a publishing phenomenon. There is actually a web site where a
number of clergy who have read the book respond to the question: Do you
plan to see "The Da Vinci Code"?. Brown's book stands in a long
line of lore and legend that takes Gospel material as a point of
departure. "The Da Vinci Code" is a suspenseful work of fiction
based on a secret legacy of Mary Magdalene. The romance and intrigue of
Brown's mystery novel have thrilled millions of readers. "The Da
Vinci Code" is complete with conspiracy theories, religious
corruption, and references to technology and gadgets. Modern readers love
is most intriguing is the response that the book has generated. Suspending
disbelief is necessary any time we watch a movie or read a mystery novel.
However, many readers of the "The Da Vinci Code" wonder if the
plot of Brown's book is true in whole or in part. Even professional
theologians have waded into the excitement and controversy spawned by
Brown's story line. I suspect part of the reason for this is the thirst
for the mystery and meaning of life. If only we could crack the code and
solve the mystery. Perhaps the truth is "out there" some where.
Perhaps someone is keeping the truth from us. The pay off consists in
finding an answer.
core of the Christian message has mystery at its heart. The life giving
resurrection of Christ is the central mystery of faith. However, it is not
a mystery to be solved but rather a mystery that inspires. In Scripture,
the point and purpose of mystery is not to confound but to disclose.
Disclosure, the opening up of God to the people of God, accompanies us on
the path of justice and new life. For Mary Magdalene the empty tomb is not
a secret to be cherished or a problem to be solved--it is an invitation to
become open to the mystery of life. This is St. Paul's message to
Christians in the city of Corinth. Ancient people were familiar with
mystery religions and religions based on special insider knowledge. What
Paul tells them is that the resurrection is a mystery made manifest.
" Listen, I tell you a mystery…Death has been swallowed up in
Victory." The resurrection of our Lord gives meaning to this life
and makes visible our ultimate destination. It is the purpose of our work
as a community of faith. Saints both ancient and modern have transformed
their world because the mystery of their life in Christ transformed them.
Jean Vanier, Mother Theresa, Desmond Tutu, each have grasped something of
the mystery of life. Their contribution to the lives of others flows from
the Christ within them. The mystery of resurrection is food for
thought-more importantly, it is bread for our journey.
The Rev. Canon Rod Gillis