Being my last week of “break” before school begins next Monday, I’ve been doing a bit more reading and movie watching than usual. Yesterday, I finished re-reading C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian and finished the day by watching Precious on Netflix. Wow.
C.S. Lewis concludes Prince Caspian with a simple and true picture of the best and worst of humanity:
“I was wishing that I came of a more honorable lineage,” Caspian says.
Aslan replies: “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve. . . And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.” *
Watching Precious with this paradoxical conceptualization of what it means to be created in the image of God was a powerful experience. If you haven’t yet seen the film, I recommend it — the film is dark, and sad, but shows the situations into which innocent children are born and struggle to survive. It is so easy to forget about true suffering, and this film is a stark reminder that it happens. And not just in little doses. Some of us are plagued with unrelenting circumstances, including the protagonist of this film.
And when we see the shame and misfortune heaped upon the shoulders of Precious, as Christians we simultaneously know that she is a child of God, created in his image. Is this perhaps one of the hardest issues to reconcile, that anyone created with love and in the image of God could be held to lifelong and unrelenting suffering? That this kind of suffering takes place all around our world, with the Creator standing by?
Furthermore, do we too often forget that this same shame and misfortune are equally placed on the shoulders of our pastors and beauty queens and celebrities because they, too, are devastatingly marred by original sin? We share the burdens and blessings of our creation equally. And this is definitely something to think about.
* Quoted language from C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, 218 (Scholastic 1995).