Mockingjay Part 2
I recently went to see the fourth and final installment of the nationally known Hunger Games movies. Sitting in the dark theatre, surrounded by rows of my friends, I began to wonder what had brought us all there. Mockingjay part two is not a light movie. There are tears on both sides of the screen, and if any of what happened on screen happened to movie goers in real life we would probably become overwhelmed with how hard of a life we live. No one I know is entertained when those close to them die. No one I know would desire to put their own life on the line for another, simply out of pleasure. This is the kind of plot we try to journey around in life. This is the kind of plot we try to avoid in our nonfiction lives.
But when it comes to the theatre we pay money to watch these very occurrences take place on the screen. Year after year The Hunger Games movies brought in sold out theaters and more money than I care to type out.
Sitting in my theatre seat, sipping Starbucks and wondering how it would all end, I too had paid money to watch the horrors of The Hunger Games finally (hopefully) come to a close.
But after reading a friend’s thoughts who also wrote about our own relation to Mockingjay 2 (thanks Guthrie!) I’ve realized more fully that this is a norm for humanity. We love it. And we thrive on it. But why?
Why do movies built around pain and triumph draw us in so deeply? Why do we want to step into those worlds? Why do we want to be the hero or the one who is valiantly saved from death?
We were made for another world. C.S.Lewis provides a unique look at this truth in his book The Great Divorce where the reality of Heaven in so sharp and so true to even walk on the grass is painful. We are not accustomed to it.
We have read a book about the God who provided a way we can be saved. Many of us have grown up hearing stories of courageous men and women who lived and died for this same God. Some of us have accepted it and some of us have not. Regardless, we were created for another world.
God is preparing this world for us, and those who are saved will literally reign with God for eternity.
What draws us in to stories like the Hunger Games is this hope. We get to experience the emotion of the struggle. We relate, in a much bigger way than I think we realize, to the fight between the Capitol and the Districts.
For this time on earth we are in a battle between good and evil. We are waiting for a victorious end. But unlike the characters in Mockingjay part 2, we know the end already.
Here on earth we fight our battles, but ultimately the war is won.
Fantastical plots are always partly based on reality. What if this reality has already been secured and we are just waiting for the moment when we can live in it? Maybe this is why we pay to go see movies like The Hunger Games. Maybe because for a brief space of two hours we can pretend to live in the victory we know will be ours. But in the fiction let’s realize the reality we will one day face is sharper than we can imagine. In this sense, fiction such as The Hunger Games will never be over. It only paves the way for the reality we have yet to live. A reality of sweet victory led by Jesus Christ.