Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Faith Works 9-10-16

Faith Works 9-10-16

Jeff Gill


September 10, 2001



Today is an anniversary of sorts.


Fifteen years ago, I had a quiet day as a pastor.


The next day I'd have an early morning meeting of the jail ministry board of which I was president, so I needed to make some preparations for that; and I had a trip Sept. 10 to meet with other church camp directors to review the summer, and start the plans for next year's camp and conference weeks.


It was relatively cool, and drizzly, not many people on the road. On the radio, the talk was about Chandra Levy (still missing) and summer shark attacks (still worrisome). That morning, before I headed out on the road, the Today Show talked about how to get good deals on airline travel.


And some 3,000 people across the country east of me were having their last full day of life.


In worship, falling as the observance does on a Sunday this year, we will mark the losses and the lessons. We will remember 343 firefighters who ran towards the smoke and flames, 60 law enforcement officers who died at their posts or putting themselves on duty at the Twin Towers, another dozen paramedics and elevator technicians who came to help of their own free will and did not leave; we will honor 125 who died at the Pentagon, military & civilian employees, and will salute 246 passengers and crew on the airplanes used in the committal of the crimes.


(And you may see different numbers for these categories in some tributes, as rightly the authorities have begun to include people whose deaths since 9-11 are clearly & unmistakably connected to their work "on the pile" including some survivors of the day who died in the next few years from breathing problems arising from what they inhaled in those next few hours or days.)


As preachers and pastors and many others have said in these last 15 years, no one caught between the plane impacts and collapse of the Twin Towers picked up their cell phone and called to settle scores or air out old grudges. No one is known to have spent their time trapped between flame and falling remembering former honors or past workplace promotions. They called people, or left voice mails, or did whatever they could to tell certain special persons in their lives that they loved them.


On Flight 93, the last of the four planes to crash, short of the hijackers' goal, phone technology was used to share love, and to pray together before that final assault on the cockpit. There was no more business to do, no need to worry about schedules or push agendas. Just "tell my family I love them, okay?" and the words of the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm.


We would pray together that none of us ever has to face such a time of trial; Jesus himself put that thought into his basic outline of prayer for his disciples -- "lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil" -- and he gives us that prayer because we know that evil days will come, and we need to remember that evil does not have the last word.


Today is a September 10th for us; it always is, in a way, and we never really know what tomorrow brings. That awareness can chill our hearts and stop our souls with fear and doubt.


As there are trials and temptations to worry and fret and fear, let us remember that Jesus came to tell us, and to show us, that God desires peace for us, healing for all of creation, redemption for everything created. Salvation is not a dream for only the secure and the confident, but a promise to "all who labor and are heavy laden."


There is an upside to political candidates of all parties to keep us unnerved, anxious, worried, burdened. In large part, so that they can promise to be the ones who will bring us peace, lighten our load, and from them we will receive rest.


Friends, pray for those running for office, pray as Scripture teaches for those who are holding office and responsibility and are on guard for us; but as we honor and salute and vote, remember that our rest is in the Lord, that peace is a gift of the Christ, and that only God can save us . . . and that salvation is a gift of love. And love endures all things, always.


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; his September 11 fifteen years ago seemed like it would never end, and in some ways it hasn't. Tell him about your reflections on that day at knapsack77@gmail.com or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Notes From My Knapsack 9-8-16

Notes From My Knapsack 9-8-16

Jeff Gill


Granville in the Movies



We're still in the "middle" of filming for a real, live, Hollywood feature here in the village and environs.


Hat tips all around to director Steven C. Miller's choice to bring Bruce Willis and Hayden Christiensen to Granville, along with his crew and all the local spending they'll do here. The Granville Chamber of Commerce and Explore Licking County (our convention and visitors' bureau) have to be over the moon with excitement.


Granville has long had a sort of cinematic image in people's imaginations after they experience the actuality of our town. I've had occasion to reference our fair city as "Brigadoon," a sort of impossibly sweet place that can't really exist and only occasionally does in this world.


Many others besides myself have found themselves thinking in the last couple of weeks about Waterford, Vermont, the default filming location for the cast and crew of "State and Main." David Mamet should make more comedies, in my opinion, because this one is a hoot, and if you've not seen it, you need to find it and watch it soon – not that I'm making any comparisons between Alec Baldwin and Bruce Willis at all! (You'll get it when you watch it.) If director Miller would get Bruce to say "Go Blue Aces" just once in "First Kill" though . . .


Having just finished getting a child through the Granville educational gauntlet, I've heard enough "Hunger Games" comparisons to the high school experience to last me a lifetime. And I've heard many parents of young women make comments about how they feel like "Clueless," "Mean Girls," and even "Heathers" have come to life around them (maybe even especially "Heathers").


"Guarding Tess" is a movie I was told repeatedly when we first came back to the area that Granville had been considered for, or even used in filming; I've never seen any indication that this is so, but it's like the old story that Walt Disney almost built Disney World at Buckeye Lake – his people went all over the US checking locations, so you can't say for sure it never happened. "Tess" is a sweet little implausible tale that was where I realized "Moonstruck" was not a fluke, and that Nicholas Cage could act when he wanted to put in the effort ("Leaving Las Vegas" was the next year, which fortunately does not remind me of Granville in any way, shape, or form, blessedly).


But perhaps my favorite cinematic connection for our village is where "Sgt. John Sweet of Granville, Ohio" unexpectedly starred in the British World War II "A Canterbury Tale." Made by the famous team of Powell and Pressburger, known as "The Archers" production and direction partnership, they found John Sweet on Eisenhower's staff in the south of England, and needed a convincing American soldier for one of the three leads in their magical 1944 movie.


Filmed in and around Canterbury, England as the work was silently going on all around them for the Normandy landings, Sweet's character is presented as being from the American West, but I think you can hear the Granville boy in his lines and reactions all through this charming and, to me at least, beloved story.


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; he's appeared in the movie "Hoosiers" but he and his wife are in a crowd scene, so… Tell him about your brushes with cinematic glory at knapsack77@gmail.com or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.