I’d seen and read the reviews, heard the arguments and the debates… but nothing prepared me for the experience I had tonight at the opening of “The Passion of the Christ.” It reached out across the ages, throughout all time, past race, creed, color, religion… deep into the hearts of what we all actually are: just simple human beings.
There is something called a “conscience” in all human beings. There is something called “conviction.” And when we’re going against ours or anyone else’s grain, we feel it… it nudges us. It talks to us. And we know it. We as human beings have all had that feeling. You can call it intuition, the sixth sense, an ominous impression… a passing mood. But a human being is made up of a heart, a soul, a spirit, love, hate… and, yes, passions.
We can all relate. In the end, we MUST all relate. We must all see eye to eye, not TAKE an eye for an eye. We must take nothing but what we’ve earned, what we’ve built upon. We must not take what is not ours. We must, instead, give of ourselves to the point of exhaustion… and then comes bliss.
This movie is not about Jesus. He did not want it to be about himself, a human being… he wanted us to understand that a sacrifice is a sacrifice and he was the great teacher of sacrificial love. He taught a mother to give birth. He taught a father to embrace his children. He taught motherless and fatherless children to seek to know the truth about who they are: “Know Thyself” was the lesson he wanted us all to conquer first.
He might’ve been a she. He might’ve been blonde-haired, blue-eyed, black-skinned, unattractive… he may not even have had swimmers’ abs!
The idea of Jesus came through in “The Passion,” because it was a simple, straightforward message that was driven home… and my own experience in the theatre tonight was an immense personal lesson. I arrived early, got a great aisle seat, bought some popcorn, settled in… but just as the movie began, a very tall man sat in the seat in front of me. Immediately, I moved two rows up. Nobody was going to block my view!!
It was kismet. In my destined seat, to my right, there was a dark-haired man, all dressed in black – very young, very gothic and satanic in appearance – long nails, slicked-back black hair, long side-burns. Twenty minutes into the film, a crippled man with some kind of handicap pulled up to my left in a wheelchair. He was right next to me! He was struggling to remove his jacket. My first instinct was to get up and help him take off his jacket… so I did. He blew me a kiss.
I looked to my left, watching the crippled man settle into his chair to watch the film. I glanced to my right at the man in black who kept sipping from a flask… and then I understood what Jesus wanted me to know. I thought about my life and all the pain, but then I felt a sudden calm ascend upon me that was like a relief that I’d never felt before. I heaved a heavy sigh, breathing out all the impurities I’d brought with me to the theatre.
My eyes were puffy as I slipped out the back exit, ran to my car and called my mother to tell her all about it. I felt nothing but great love for my family and friends at that moment. I knew I’d been moved in a way that was indescribable. And I knew “it is accomplished.”