Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mr. Bean and the Love of God

Having just returned from vacation, Nancy and I picked a movie about vacations to watch the other night. It starred Rowan Atchinson as the hapless Mr. Bean -- someone Nancy introduced to me after discovering his comedy whilst flying over and back across the Atlantic ten years ago on her Grecian vacation.

This film is the usual combination of Bean -- very little dialogue on Atkinson's part ("Bean," is one of the few words he speaks, in his low, deep in his throat voice) and lots of sight gags. Poor Bean, the uptight Englishman in his brown shoes, brown pants, brown tweed jacket and white shirt, often gets into self-made messes, but just as often causes messes behind him of which he is rarely aware. It's a scream (I think) in the same way that the old-time silent comedies were.

The poor guy is so clueless and so accident prone that your heart just goes out to him. You can anticipate what's going to happen to him -- and then it does. And you shake your head and smile and keep hoping that something graceful will happen to or for him. Even though the mishaps that happen occur largely because he's trying to get away with something and doesn't want to acknowledge the consequences of his actions.

As I watched the film, from my third person omniscient point-of-view at home, I thought of God watching us, with that Divine first person omniscient view -- and it helped me see a fresh way of how God loves us. That is the loving, watchful, "oh no, what's he/she going to do now, I can't believe it, but I do believe it and..." look. There certainly has to be some kind of cosmic comedy behind some of the things we do and whilst I would not ever posit that God made us to watch us be funny, that has to be one of the side-benefits of watching over us. That's because, ultimately, for all his missteps and misfortune, Mr. Bean rarely comes to harm. Even from things he's caused. Minor scraps and scrapes to be sure, but in the end, all is well, all manner of things are well.

The same is true for us. Ultimately. Under the watchful care of God. Loving us and laughing, perhaps, at the same time. Especially at the things that we do to ourselves. There's the twinkle of Divine amusement that is buoyed by love eternal, all loves excelling.
-- Brent

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