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 “Hunger Games.” Ed told me that he didn’t need to see any fool movie, because he lives “Hunger Games!”
“Unless a farmer plays the game of chance each season, people will go hungry! Farmers take all the risks in the game of farming,” Ed lectured me. He concluded with the questions, “Why would anyone go to a movie named, ‘Hunger Games?’ Is it like that ‘Biggest Loser’ program on television?”
“It is a good story about love and sacrifice, innocence and intimidation, the victory of good over evil. You’d like it Ed, because the government is hated and seen as evil and vindictive,” I answered.
“It doesn’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?” Ed questioned me.
“The 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 sister’s place in the Hunger Games knowing the odds of her winning are against her,” I told Ed.
“You sure can blather on, Ray. All your windiness has convinced me I have no desire to see ‘Hunger Games.’ I haven’t gone to the movies in twenty years and the only, ‘Hunger Games’ I’m interested in – is raiding the fridge,” Ed informed me.
As much as I believe “Hunger Games” 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 Jesus’ life. “Hunger Games” 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, “Why do we prefer what is popular fiction to what is the truth?”Another way of asking it is “Why do we prefer fiction to facts?” 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 God’s love and forgiveness for us through Jesus Christ. Who will preach and live repentance and forgiveness in Jesus’ name? Only those of us who know Jesus as truth, not fiction.