Sunday Devotional: “I Saw The Light”

“I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn’t let my dear savior in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I was a fool to wander and a-stray
Straight is the gate and narrow the way
Now I have traded the wrong for the right
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light”  (“I Saw The Light”)

On this Resurrection Sunday, there is that great reminder that Jesus is the light of the world.  And when he rose from the grave, the light shown out from the darkness.  Death had no more victory.

Because of Resurrection Sunday, we are able to see the light.  We are able to not live in darkness anymore.  Jesus made a way.  And he loves us so much that He wants to bring us along.  Before Jesus, we are wandering in the dark.  But with Jesus we can live in the light.  We get to have that renewed relationship with the Father.

This week (and every week), let us be thankful that we have the hope of Resurrection Sunday.  Let us live in the light of Jesus.  And let us share the good news that we have seen the light.

“I Saw The Light”: Thoughts on the Hank Williams biopic

I was born and raised in the south.  Part of what comes with that is growing up with country music, and when I was growing up even more so.  I was raised on listening to country music radio stations like 650AM WSM and the Grand Ole Opry.  One of its classic stars was Hank Williams Sr.  He is an iconic figure in the world of country music and was one of its biggest stars in the 1940s & 50s.  He led a tragic life that saw it end at age 29.  His music influenced countless artists and still is as impactful today.

I Saw The Light

I Saw The Light is a biopic that focuses on the singer’s life from the time of his marriage of his first wife Audrey until the end of his life.  The film shows the highest of the highs as he played the Grand Ole Opry and toured around the country.  It also shows the lowest of the lows with his bouts with alcoholism and drugs as well as his infidelity.  The film stars Tom Hiddleston as Hank and Elisabeth Olsen as Audrey.

I was blown away by the film.  Hiddleston does a tremendous job as Hank.  Not only the acting performance but also the musical performance.  The filmmakers didn’t use old recordings of Hank Williams but Tom himself sung the songs and sounded very much like ole Hank.  When he was on stage with the suit, hat and guitar singing, he looked and sounded like Hank Williams.  He captured what made Hank Williams such a lovable figure as well as a tragic one.  Elisabeth Olsen had a tremendous performance as well.  She was strong and vulnerable playing off of Hiddleston’s Hank.

There were several parts of the film that made me (and the rest of the audience watching) laugh because they were very much like real life.  Certain comments would be said that would totally fit what was going on or just were a part of life.

The title of the movie comes from one of his classic songs.  “I Saw The Light” was a gospel song that at the time it was recorded wasn’t much of a hit but after his death became one of the most well known gospel songs of all time.  Anyone that that grew up in a southern church will know that song.  I thought it was kind of fitting to see this film on Good Friday because of the reminder of Jesus and how because of Jesus I personally have seen the light.  And the ending of the film when the artists and the audience are singing “I Saw The Light” is so moving.

I was fortunate in that it opened in this area with it’s limited release (I think it opens nationwide next week).  I Saw The Light is one of the best films I have seen in a movie theater.  I definitely think this film should be nominated (and win) a lot of awards.  I highly recommend going to see this film when you can.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Peter 4:12-19

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.  For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”  (1 Peter 4:12-19)

Suffering is a part of the Christian life.  We will suffer.  We will deal with hardships.  But we can take heart.  We are not alone and we will overcome.

The apostle Peter in his first letter wrote about suffering.  He knew that young believers were going to suffer and he wanted to comfort and encourage them.  We should not be shocked when this suffering comes around.  And we should not let us get word down from it.  We follow Jesus who knows all about suffering, He suffered and died for our sins so that we can have new life.  We have the Holy Spirit with us to comfort and help us to overcome.

Let us give praise to God in the midst of our sufferings.  Let us share with others about our blessing that we have in the midst of our sufferings.  And let us keep enduring in following Jesus in the midst of our sufferings.  Because we follow one who knows what we’re going through, who loves us & is there to help us overcome.

2016 Book List

For now the 12th year (starting in 2005), I have kept track of every book that I’ve read.  So far this year at this point I’ve finished 3 books and into my 4th book.  Here is the list so far:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston