Rowan’s been at home unwell this week and so I’ve been working in the living room to keep him company when I’ve not had meetings and activities elsewhere. This has meant that I’ve had a backdrop of TV as I’ve ploughed through emails and prepared services. Alongside computer games and some daytime TV (TopGear on Dave) I’ve had to try and concentrate whilst various classic films have played in the background; the highlights being the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and one of my all-time favourites, The Blues Brothers.
I’m guessing most of you are familiar with Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp’s iconic portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow, the slightly deranged, selfish yet loveable rogue. It’s pure high seas silliness with drama and plot-twists aplenty. If you haven’t seen the films, especially the first, I recommend it. You may not be so familiar, however, with The Blues Brothers, a cult classic from the Eighties. The film stars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues. Freshly released from Joliet Prison, Jake is picked up by his brother Elwood and they visit the orphanage where they were brought up. They discover that the nuns that run the place are faced with closure as they can’t afford the tax bill that they’ve run up. The Blues Brothers decide to get the band back together, and seek to raise sufficient ticket proceeds to pay off the debt. Forget the plot though, that is secondary to great musical numbers featuring the likes of Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Ray Charles, one of the largest car chases of all time, and a series of wonderful one liners and quotes such as ‘Are you the police?’ ‘No, ma’am. We’re musicians.’ and ‘It’s a hundred and six miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.’ Possibly the most famous quote comes towards the start of the film when Jake Elwood has an epiphany in church ‘I have seen the light!’ realising that in order to raise the cash he needs to get the old band back together again. Soon they get in trouble and are pursued by the cops. Jake fears that he’ll be heading back to prison, but Elwood proclaims that they’ll never be caught, ‘We’re on a mission from God!’
‘On a mission from God.’ It is the certainty of their calling that enables Jake and Elwood to face the challenges ahead of them and keep going despite the ridiculous odds against their succeeding. This is similar to one of the themes that emerged out of our discussions around Luke 10 at the Bible Study on Wednesday (like the Blues Brothers, this is highly recommended and increasingly popular!) It was the idea that our worth is found not in our work, in what we succeed in for God, but in our relationship with him. This doesn’t mean that we stop working for him, no, instead it liberates us to work without being fearful of the outcome. Knowing that we are valued by him because of who we are, his children through Christ, we are freed to reach out with his love despite any struggles or odds, knowing that whether people accept or reject this, it doesn’t change how God sees us, we are secure in him.
So don your shades, skinny tie, black suit and fedora, ‘cause we’re on a mission from God!