I have friends who live on the Arabian Peninsula. I got to spend some time with them awhile back. The told me of rather ironic thing happening in the Mid-East. Last year, Mel Gibson released his movie The Passion of the Christ. As you will recall, much of the press leading up to the movie chastised Gibson for his “anti-Semitic” portrayal of the events. Arab and Muslim leaders approved the showing of the movie based on the assumption that this would be the case. A cottage industry pirating copies of the movie sprung up everywhere.
My friends tell me that many Muslims are captivated by the movie and it has sparked more sincere discussions about Jesus than anything else they have seen. Personally, I thought the film was good but not exceptional. But it was hardly anti-Semitic. I conclude that many who objected on the movies release in the US had political agendas that had little to do with movie. Yet their opposition and attempts to censor the movie actually resulted in millions of Muslims seeing the movie who otherwise would not have seen it. Once the movie was out there was no way to bring back under wraps. A God thing? It wouldn’t be the first time less-than-noble human efforts were incorporated into God’s plans.
Yesterday I wrote about Jacob receiving Isaac’s blessing through deception. Think about the key players in that story. First there is Esau who sells his birthright for a meal and latter marries Hittite women. (Hittite women were known to bring their household gods into a marriage while Aramean women adopted the gods of their husbands. Esau was not to marry a Hittite.) Second, there is the “wonderful” relationship between Rebekah and Isaac that prompts her to scheme behind his back. Third, there is Jacob who steals Esau’s birthright and then unabashedly lies to his father to get the blessing. Fourth, there is Isaac who knows what Esau has done and tries to bless him anyway. No one comes off smelling like a rose in this story. Yet God accomplishes his plan.
God’s vision can not be thwarted. The name "Isaac" means laughter but in this case it is God who got the last laugh. It gives me courage to know that even when I mess up and see the Church acting dysfunctional that it can not stop God’s plan.