I recently watched the movie Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche, Judie Dench, Alfred Molina, and Johnnie Depp. I watched the movie because it was mentioned in a book I’ve been reading called The Shaping of Things to Come.
I enjoyed the movie at numerous levels: landscapes, use of color, story, imagery, acting, etc. But the reason I want to mention it hear is that the movie helped me get a picture of what I think it means to live in a vibrant way as a part of God’s mission in this world.
Now some of you who have seen the movie may be wondering what in the world I’m talking about. The movie comes off in many ways as a battle between mystical, sensuous paganism and archaic, flat Christianity, with the latter as the clear loser.
But what is fascinating about all of this is the way that the movie opens up a more incarnated approach to living out the joy and abundant life of God’s work in the world.
Let me simplify that statement.
Chocolat provides a visual picture of what it means to live with people and for their greatest good as followers of Jesus.
While I don’t want to ruin it for you, the main character, Vianne, moves into a very bounded setting to establish a chocolatier, thereby bringing joy and life into a grey world one life and relationship at a time. In the end, the entire village is changed, including her arch-nemesis the mayor (his waking moment in the chocolatier is priceless).
How much more should we not do this where we live? As we enter into the life of the town and begin to subversively impact the lives of people around us for joy and true life until our blocks, neighborhoods, and cities are transformed.