Friday, 18 September 2009

The Mission:Scene portraying one man's guilt, remorse, self effort, despair, grace, forgiveness, redemption and final restoration.

This clip shows one of my favourite scenes from ‘The Mission’. In it Mendosa (superbly acted by De Niro) is doing penance for the guilt of killing the brother he loved. He would have preferred to die for the killing but was talked out of it by Father Gabriel (Irons). When the native holds the knife to his throat it seems almost a relief to him. He had come to the end of his own self effort to free himself from the guilt but failed. To use the Pauline phrase of Romans 7 he had cried out in his heart: ‘Wretched man that I am who will deliver me from this body of death’. It is then, when he comes to the end of himself, he receives grace and forgiveness when the tribesman cuts lose his burden and lets it fall along with his sins and guilt into the water. Here we see echoes of ‘Christian’ being set free from his burden in Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress. He’s finally free at last.

1 comment:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Amen, brother! The Mission is one of my very favorite films and has had a lasting effect on my life in Christ. It pulls out of me so many things hidden in my flesh and in my spirit, and lets me see them both in the Light, where I can distinguish them and look at them anew, to regain confidence when I'm flagging in the service of Christ, and to humble me when I think I am victorious in my own strength.

Who am I among the characters in the film? I sometimes think, part of me is without doubt Fr Gabriel. I can see myself marching forward into enemy fire, unarmed and defenseless, carrying the Token of the Lord's Presence, and willing and ready to be slain for love of Him. Yet, part of me is Mendoza, a sinful man aware of his sin, aware of being redeemed though very unworthy, sympathizing with my flesh in its weakness, empathizing with others in their need, and even willing to risk my salvation to relieve and protect them, ready and willing to die on the battlefield of life, because somewhere deep down I know, God is faithful, and He will forgive me if my actions done in love are ultimately judged wrong.

For me the most moving part of the film is where Mendoza asks Fr Gabriel to bless him.

"Father, I’ve come to ask you to bless me."

"No. If you're right, you'll have God's blessing. If you're wrong, my blessing won't mean anything. If might is right, then love has no place in the world."

"It may be so."

"But I don't have the strength to live in a world like that.
I can't bless you."

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5