A Star Is Born ~ A Movie & A Meaning

star is bornRecently 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

star is born nose

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.

Throwing Inspiration to the Wind

wind girl letting go branch
Recently I wrote a post called, “A Precious, Simple Life” 1 that was about the blessed position of sitting at the feet of Jesus, resting in His life and teachings.  Knowing that it’s primarily a position of heart that is in view, I got to busying myself again without thinking much of it.  This included a more involved writing project.  But after a few days of this my peace was disturbed.  Stress and worry popped up, as did occasional feelings of inadequacy and not being effective enough.

“Here’s Your Sign…”

Whenever negative feelings like this trouble us, we can know we have “gotten up from His feet.”  In a personal quest to record inspiration on paper – things that I believe came from the Spirit – I’ve actually quenched inspiration.  How easily this can happen!

As a writer, or a musician, or an artist – or even someone who speaks about, or posts online what they are passionate about to others – stumbling over one’s inspiration is common.  We have to continually live in the moment and be willing to hold things we see, hear, or experience from the Spirit lightly.  The minute we try to grasp onto something and make it even the slightest bit about us and our ego, it turns rancid, like manna kept over night.2  

There’s an interesting comment made by the disciple John that says most of what Jesus did when on earth was not recorded. 3  I can only guess many things He spoke wasn’t written down, too.  Wow.  Think about this.  Lost, never to be remembered again?  Blown away like seeds landing on a watery ocean expanse?  It sounds so tragic, but maybe this speaks of the largely transient nature of inspiration and expressions of love.  Maybe these things are meant to impact only one life, and for only one moment in time.  And maybe just ourself.   

Yes, we have many wonderful things recorded in the Bible that Jesus said and did.  We’d like to think we own the original intent of the words, when actually what we read with our eyes is at best a translation of a translation.  The real, genuine inspiration is not in the specific grouping of letters, which make up words, which are connected to the current culture’s understanding of those words.  No, the inspiration is in the “spark” of original voice and intent.  How can this be known?  How can this living “spark” of originality be known through reading imperfect words on a page? 

Words alone are dead.  “The letter kills,” the writer Paul said.4.  They can be misunderstood, used for ulterior motives, and ultimately be assigned an ”out-of-print” status.  But pure, heavenly inspiration does exist – for those who look beyond the letters, words, lyrics, and other outward forms, and comprehend by the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.   A child can then understand what the literate and educated can not.

wind blowing leaves

So what I’m saying is this:

Creative expression is like the wind.  It comes and goes, and comes back again in a perpetual cycle.  Are we good with this?  With letting go of the incredible and beautiful revelation we were given today, to blow away in the wind of tomorrow?

Christ, the eternal Word of God, is ultimately the source of all inspiration and creativity.  He is the “spark” of originality.  He is in all things, through all things, and for all things.5  He bursts through constructs of letters, words, and sounds, and can either make them come alive, or render them useless in the glory of His inexpressible presence.   And as a good friend reminded me, He is also writing His Word afresh onto our hearts and lives, not with ink, but as a “living epistle.” 6

In this sense inspiration cannot become extinct, any more than Christ can become extinct.  It just lives for a singular moment or day, and then gets recycled back to God, back to people, back to God, and back to people.  There’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to inspiration.  It just keeps coming back changing its outward expression, including different shapes, words, and sounds.  And using different people.  So in a way it is something new, but ultimately it’s all from the same source.  Which, or more accurately Who, is Christ.

Happy are those who believe this!  They create a beautiful writing, post, song, piece of art – or give of themselves in a loving, sacrificial deed – and then peacefully accept when it seems to instantly disappear into a void of ungratefulness, forgetfulness, and unpopularity.  They don’t chase after it, or strive.  They don’t get up from the feet of Jesus to produce anything permanent or popular for Him.  Because they know that it is only in relationship to Christ, immersed in His life and in His Word, that inspiration flows, exists, and remains.

Father, please do whatever it takes to keep us always here, at your Son’s feet!

1 hissecretgarden.com/2019/01/14/a-precious-simple-life/
2 Exodus 16:20  3 John 21:25,  4 2 Cor.3:6,  5 Colossians 1:16-17, 6 2 Cor. 3:3