The movie I’m writing about is not the latest “Noelle” which is just out this year by Disney, no, it is a film produced by a Christian actor and faithful servant, David Wall, who plays the role of Father Jonathan, a priest from the Archdiocese of Washington. Father Jonathan has little experience as a parish priest, instead working on the business side of church operations as a “bean counter” supreme, subjugating the warm, outflow of the Spirit to the mundane aspects of maintaining financial standards for all the churches he visits. In this case, he knows the parish priest of the subject church, Father Simeon, very well from being a classmate of his in their days of seminary training. Father Simeon is entirely different, focusing on interpersonal relations with his parishioners in all aspects of his duties and life. Therein lies a major conflict in outlook between the two which is hard to reconcile for the good of the parish. So, we have Father Jonathan, the stiff, impersonal bureaucrat focused on financial matters facing off with Father Simeon, a laid back, fun and people loving cleric who loves to hang out with the boys and loves his drink as well.
Now, I’m not going to tell you the story for if I did you wouldn’t want to watch the movie, but it is set at Christmastime in a pristine rural setting, yet it contains all the issues of humanity and with it sin that must be dealt with. Both men have their weaknesses, the difference is that Father Simeon is an open book while Father Jonathan maintains total privacy about the things eating at him from the inside, yet it does show itself with bursts of impatient anger. His reticence to get close to anyone finally begins to come out later in a series of conversations between the two priests over several days. In the first one, as Father Jonathan asks Father Simeon why he wanted to be a priest, the much more easygoing parish priest tells him it’s to show love, that he wants to reach out to others with God’s love. When Simeon asks the same question of his visitor from the archdiocese, he first gets no answer, but days later he is told by Father Jonathan that he really didn’t want to be a priest. But it’s still later, closer to the end of the film, when Jonathan admits it’s because of something he did that ruined a human relationship and for which he has been ever haunted. While I won’t give the story away by telling you, I will say it was a major event in the man’s life and one for which only his facing it openly will get him on the course that God wants for him.
I hope readers will look for it on Amazon, for it can be purchased or with an Amazon Prime membership it can be seen for free with a Kindle Book or other similar platform which accepts the network. I certainly don’t see this as an advertisement for Amazon yet I am very pleased to see their inclusion of quite a number of Christian productions in their offerings. I must congratulate Amazon for taking this position since so many other internet-based services scorn matters of faith. If nothing else, it shows that they pay attention to what their audience wants instead of trying to force them to settle for something else. And for we Christians and our faith, it offers a powerful tool to help spread the word about God’s love and grace. That is the reason why I altered my usual approach on this Sunday Morning Coming Down. A very good movie for mature audiences during the Christmas season.
Dear Lord, we thank you for your gift of faith based upon love and we are so pleased to find online movies as a great new tool for spreading that faith. Help us to use them effectively to help open minds and hearts as we each continue our active steps, some big and some small, to expand the reach of the word to so many more who need it. Amen.