Sometimes, the simplest question sets Ed, my neighbor next door, off on an intense ramble. This happened when I asked him if he saw the movie â€œHunger Games.â€ Ed told me that he didnâ€™t need to see any fool movie, because he lives â€œHunger Games!â€
â€œUnless a farmer plays the game of chance each season, people will go hungry! Farmers take all the risks in the game of farming,â€ Ed lectured me. He concluded with the questions, â€œWhy would anyone go to a movie named, â€˜Hunger Games?â€™ Is it like that â€˜Biggest Loserâ€™ program on television?â€
â€œIt is a good story about love and sacrifice, innocence and intimidation, the victory of good over evil. Youâ€™d like it Ed, because the government is hated and seen as evil and vindictive,â€ I answered.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t sound too interesting to me. Does anyone get rich? Does it make you laugh? Does it have any hockey or curling or baseball in it? Do they compete to see who can eat the least?â€ Ed questioned me.
â€œThe story is set in the future, in a land named Panem. The land is controlled from the capital and each year it selects by lottery a boy and a girl (thirteen to eighteen) from each of the twelve districts in the country to take part in the Hunger Games. The twenty-four competitors are forced to kill each other, as only one out of the group can be alive at the end of the games. The story revolves around sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen and her fellow competitor, Peeta, from District Twelve. Katniss volunteers to take her younger sisterâ€™s place in the Hunger Games knowing the odds of her winning are against her,â€ I told Ed.
â€œYou sure can blather on, Ray. All your windiness has convinced me I have no desire to see â€˜Hunger Games.â€™ I havenâ€™t gone to the movies in twenty years and the only, â€˜Hunger Gamesâ€™ Iâ€™m interested in – is raiding the fridge,â€ Ed informed me.
As much as I believe â€œHunger Gamesâ€ is a good story and movie I would have to say it lacks the truth of Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Sunday – the real events of Jesusâ€™ life. â€œHunger Gamesâ€ is fiction, the invention of a very talented writer. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are historical facts. Jesus is not some fictitious character like Katniss Everdeen or Harry Potter. The love and sacrifice of Jesus was and is real. In innocence, he accepted the intimidation of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. He was willing to endure the cross and death so that good could be victorious over evil.
As we observe Holy Week once more, we must ever ask, â€œWhy do we prefer what is popular fiction to what is the truth?â€Another way of asking it is â€œWhy do we prefer fiction to facts?â€ Perhaps because fiction requires only our pleasure for a story we like or enjoy. Facts challenge us. The truth of God and his love for us in Christ calls us to faith, to belief in Godâ€™s love and forgiveness for us through Jesus Christ. Who will preach and live repentance and forgiveness in Jesusâ€™ name? Only those of us who know Jesus as truth, not fiction.