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.
4 thoughts on “A Star Is Born ~ A Movie & A Meaning”
Frank Viola does it all the time when watching movies. He identifies which character in the movie is a reflection of Jesus. It is great that you saw Jesus and his bride in A star is Born. Great!
I agree completely with you: “There is just far too much individualism in the Body of Christ, and it is grieving.” There is only one solution for that. Jesus gave us a command which we ignore because we live according to the world system. He told us clearly in Lk 9:23 is the only way to let him be king in control of our life. Luk 9:23,24 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Denying yourself is extremely difficult in an age where human rights are rife – it is the backbone of our society. People often misunderstand what Jesus meant when he said we must daily take up our cross and follow him. When one was walking with his cross (in Jesus’ time) everybody knew he was going to be crucified to death. Jesus is telling us to crucify our flesh, sinful human nature. The only problem is we can’t do it in our own strength. If we “white knuckle” it we only succeed for a very limited time. Jesus gave us the answer to this dilemma.
Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith [trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (also cf. Joh 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. [KJV]) As the body of Christ we need one another to stand by each another to encourage one another to put our body on the alter as a living, burnt offering; a total sacrifice. (cf. Rom 12:1-2).
As we start living together like this we form the insurgence [ :-) ] where the kingdom of Christ becomes visible in the world.
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Thank you Peter, for this. I’ve heard it said, “You can’t kill a dead man.” So in relationship with others, it could also be said, “You can’t get a dead man (or woman) to exert their individual rights, compete with another, or be selfish.” So yes, it is paramount for true, lasting relationships to begin here – in being “crucified with Christ,” and living according to His resurrected life. I’m thankful that our Father puts us through things to keep bringing us back to this starting point.
Often I have wrestled with knowing when to step back from sharing what I have with others … He did say after all “freely ye have received (from me), freely give (to others)” and so I have, freely. But that doesn’t mean to ignore the leading of the Spirit and broadcast everything I’ve ever received … for there is that adage about “casting pearls among swine” … Spiritual discernment tells me what to share and when – and I’ve seen the result of sharing too much too quickly – sometimes it’s not unlike trying to feed an infant solid food. Paul alludes to the difference between milk and meat …
But then there’s the command of Yeshua to Peter “Feed my sheep” … so doe He mean to feed them perpetually, or just until they get a taste of the Bread of Life or the Living Water and from there on, they go directly to Yeshua for spiritual food and drink? 1 John 2:27 says after all “you don’t need a man to teach you … the Holy Spirit will teach you everything and no lie …” So in my mind, there is a time when all partakers of the Word ought be left to be on their own – do “do the work” of collecting their own daily manna from the source – rather than pinching the manna someone else collected.
And therein comes the feeling I have had many times when my sharing has turned into some kind of writing, performing or speaking ministry – that is a kind of “physician heal thyself” type of attitude – or like Paul wrote “if anyone doesn’t work, he shall not eat” … sooner or later, every believer should stand and take charge of their own faith, instead of continually – many for a lifetime – abdicating to a religious / spiritual “higher-up” / authority – upon whom they rely for their daily bread. Such has been the basis for the rotten system we have today of believers filing into religious facilities to hear the weekly message from a professional religious person for whom they toss a few bills in the offering plate as it is passed by. A hireling (John 10) who has NO intention of “giving freely”. And thus the masses are turned into religious addicts – seeking out their religious fix for the week for money – often a “tithe”. How perverse a system is that!
SoS and the movie as you describe it, paints a beautiful picture of a believer relishing in collecting manna from the Maker who in turn, relishes the believer who comes to Him for spiritual food. And in the process, we see that beautiful parable of the ‘prodigal son’ played out – wherein the Father won’t let the returning son fall on his knees and grovel, rather, the Father stands the son up to look full in His face while declaring “THIS IS MY SON!” and in turn dresses the son in a robe, the family ring and sandals.
The thing about man’s religious system that has come to bother me most, has to do with the habit of always putting believers in a groveling position – ever trying to appease God – approaching God as if He is far off – as if the only position to approach God is prostrate. What part of “boldly approach” and “when ye stand to pray” don’t we get? Or the prodogal son whom He puts upon his feet? Or the woman of SoS?
I love the mental image of the Father and Son walking with a believer – talking and sharing as if lovers or dearest friends …
Thanks for the movie review and the insights, Pam. ;) Jack
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Amen, I can relate to not always knowing when to share, or what to share, or if to share. I’m not perfect at this, but I’m reminded of Jesus saying that He “only does what He hears or sees the Father doing.” If the Father winks, Jesus winks. If the Father steps forward, Jesus steps forward. Intimacy in relationship (first in and with the Trinity, and second with each other who God has given to us) makes this beautiful dance possible. We definitely need each other!
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