Recently we watched the movie, “A Star is Born,” this time with friends. For those with sensitive ears such as myself, it has a lot of harsh language, but the love story in it is powerful, and it is very well acted. It was even better the second time.
What struck me, as it often does in classic love stories, is the resemblance to the greatest love story of all time…the Song of Songs. One just can’t escape it. An unknown and disadvantaged young woman is discovered by a man of great status, who falls passionately in love with her, and gives her a new life. In this case it is a woman named Alley (played by Lady Gaga) singing in a bar, and a famous musician named Jackson Maine (played by Bradley Cooper) stumbling in and hearing her sing. As they get to know each other after that, Alley expresses to Jack her insecurity to sing any songs that she wrote herself. But with Jack’s tender encouragement, she decides to become vulnerable and sing one of her songs to him. He loves it. In fact, he loves her songs so much that at his next concert he sings one her songs – but not without encouraging her to come on stage to sing it with him.
What ensued was, for awhile, a new career for the previously insecure Alley as she went on tour with Jack, and he put her center stage again and again. The chemistry between the two was incredible, and there was no competitive attitude between either one as they sang each other’s songs, and supported each other’s careers. It was a selfless blending of two voices, into one voice.
Again, I think of the Song of Songs here. One of its great translation challenges is that it is not always clear when the Shulamite woman is speaking, and when the King is speaking. (and thirdly, the less common “Daughters of Jerusalem”) There are no Hebrew “tick” marks to say it’s one or the other. So opinions vary, and I personally love that it is not cut and dry. Not just because it makes understanding the Song something of a treasured mystery that has to be sought after, but also because it is a beautiful picture of spiritual oneness in relationship. Two voices melding together as one – selflessly supporting each other to the point where one cannot tell when one voice begins, and one voice ends.
He says to her, “Let your light shine,” and she says to Him, “You are my light,” and when this happens back and forth fast enough – it’s hard to know their voices as something separate anymore.
They co-author, as co-heirs, in constant co-habitation.
All of Him, Loves All of You
Another beautiful take-away from the movie, is the way Jack’s love transformed Alley’s self image. She was especially embarrassed of her large nose. People told her that it would keep her from having a singing career. But Jack didn’t skip a beat in convincing Alley that he absolutely adored her nose, and in fact, would wish that it was bigger. :-) I am reminded of how Paul says that it is the “least” of the body parts (in the Body of Christ) that should have the most honor. “We pour upon them great honor,” he says, 1 Corinthians 12:22-25.
Does anyone have any ideas how the body of Christ can be more like this? Writers, musicians, bloggers…everyone doing their own public thing online, or trying to out-post and out-wise another. Still others are in hiding, feeling intimidated or insecure to shine because of voices in their heads that they are not good enough. What once seemed like a more united and encouraging focus, has become a fight for one voice to be heard above another. There is just far too much individualism in the Body of Christ, and it is grieving. I wonder how I might be contributing to it myself.
It is my sense that until we, like the two lovers in the Song, are truly one in our love, that the world just won’t see the Kingdom of God come to earth. It may take something drastic for this to happen. Maybe all of us need to come together, leave Facebook, stop writing, or just decide together to fast and pray for a fresh visitation of God’s spirit upon us.
I’m sure it starts with just two. It’s the foundation of every great love story, isn’t it?
Anyway, that’s all I want to share about this movie for now. Some of the content, as well as the ending, is challenging. I won’t spoil it for anyone by sharing too much. Plus all metaphors lose traction at some point.
But one can find even in this difficult ending, in my opinion, something of Christ in it. If you are willing to see it.
Love never fails.