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The Rev. Dr. Peter Samuelson The Rev. Dr. Peter L. Samuelson

The Rev. Dr. Peter Samuelson is a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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We have The WORD

January 02, 2010

I have not yet seen the movie, but the trailers from "Leap Year," a romantic comedy starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, have gotten me thinking about the power of words to create new realities.

As far as I can tell from the publicity for the movie, the story goes like this: the Amy Adams character has followed her boyfriend, who is on a business trip to Ireland, to take advantage of an Irish tradition that allows women to ask men for marriage on February 29, on Leap Year.  Her plane is forced by a storm to land in Wales.  She hires a car driven by a dashingly handsome Welsh lad (Matthew Goode)  to take her to Dublin.  On the way she falls in love with this Welsh chauffeur, or so it seems.  In the climatic scene of the trailer, the Matthew Goode character is about to tell her of his love for her, but is interrupted by the appearance of the boyfriend, who falls on his knees and proposes.  The trailer leaves you lingering on Amy Adams' face as you wonder what she will do, and contemplate whether you want to shell out the money to see the movie and find out.

It is pretty clear that the heart of the Amy Adams character is with the Welsh lad and not the loser boyfriend.  So her dilemma is this:  how can she go with her heart and say no to her boyfriend's proposal when the intentions of the Matthew Goode character have not yet been spoken?  Are his intentions for love real or imagined?  A spoken word would have made his intentions real.  Because he did not have time to speak, she is forced to base her future actions on something imagined, not something real.

The gospel writer John states:  "The word became flesh and lived among us.... full of grace and truth" (Jn. 1:14) and later states: "The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth through Jesus Christ" (1:17).

For many the law does not always make God's intentions clear.  Many hear in the law only judgment and wrath.  In Christ, whom John claims as "close to the Father's heart" (1:18), we hear God's full intention of love and forgiveness.  When the Word was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ,  we have intimate knowledge of the depth and breadth of God's love and can base future actions upon it.  In Christ, no longer do we wonder but God has clearly said to all of human kind:  "I love you." 


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