As I write this I am sitting under duress in a packed cinema watching the new Diary Of A Wimpy Kid movie. Beside me our youngest, Rebecca, is happily munching through her body weight in chocolate buttons and popcorn. Sat around her are other kids doing exactly the same thing. They are in heaven. Sat around me are a handful of equally bored and despairing parents. We are in hell.
Our agony is exacerbated by the fact that in the next auditorium Fionnuala and our other two kids are watching the new Transformers movie. The kids are revelling in two hours of massive explosions and epic fights. Fionnuala is revelling in two hours of drooling over Mark Wahlberg. The best is I can hope for is deeply unfunny slapstick ‘comedy’ featuring a load of annoying American child actors. Oh and Alicia Silverstone. Who I’ve never liked. Not even in ‘Clueless.’ Where oh where is Emily Blunt when you need her.
Wonderful husband and all-round good guy that I am I had said to Fionnuala that she could accompany Adam and Hannah while I drew the short straw with Rebecca. Consoled slightly by a bucket of Diet Coke and grab bag of Peanut M&M’s I prepare myself for the horrors that lie ahead. I have made the ultimate sacrifice. I have truly taken one for the team.
Relationships are all about sacrifice though. Especially marriage. Any relationship that is disproportionately focused on the needs of one party over the other is not a healthy, functional relationship. It is give and take. It is compromise and negotiation; and sometimes having to suck it up and do stuff that you don’t really want to do. Like watch Diary of a Flipping Wimpy Kid.
Fionnuala has sacrificed more for me and our kids than I have ever given back in return. She has given up her career, her independence and (three kids later) her health to ensure that when the brown, smelly stuff hits the fan in our house she is always there to pick up the pieces and clean up the mess. She is our rock, our anchor, our constant. And for that I am truly grateful. Every day she makes the hundreds of little sacrifices that come with being a mother.
The ultimate sacrifice was made over 2000 years ago on a hillside outside Jerusalem. Jesus knew what had to be done. If there had been any other way he would have taken it. He sweated blood in Gethsemane the night before as he contemplated the horrific death that awaited him. Beaten unrecognisable, humiliated in front of an entire city and then nailed to a Roman instrument of torture to die a slow, brutal death in front of his mother. While the majority of his closest friends ran for the hills.
It happened. Saying it didn’t is like saying Julius Caesar didn’t happen. It’s a historical fact. Where the debate begins is why it happened and what happened afterwards. I believe it happened in order to redeem mankind from the horrible mess he was making of life. And I believe he overcame the grave by walking out of a tomb. But don’t just take my word for it. Read the Gospels instead which document the hundreds of people who witnessed him in the flesh in the days and the weeks after the crucifixion.
If it happened today it probably would have gone viral online. The equivalent in the 1st Century Middle East was an explosion in Christianity which was unstoppable even in the face of unprecedented opposition and persecution. Which led to the collapse of the Roman Empire, the world power of its time. Imagine an itinerant carpenter from Hicksville, Nowhere, launching an ideology today that revolutionised the modern world we live in. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No. Because that’s exactly what Jesus achieved in a three year ministry.
We are about an hour into the film now. The vomit, farting and pee jokes are coming thick and fast. Rebecca is loving it. And I’m enduring it. Because that’s what parents do on school holidays. I’m taking one for the team. It’s a small price to pay, however. Compared to what happened on that hillside outside Jerusalem many years ago.
Luke 24:6 – ‘He is not here; he has risen!’
What is the worst kids film you have ever sat through?
Sweet or salted popcorn? You decide.
Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?