Movies for Lent – Series Overview

Welcome to our Lenten Series. In the weeks that lead up to Easter, we are going to feature a series of guided film discussions focused on Jesus’s journey to the cross.

For this series, we have made use of the Scriptural Stations of the Cross as defined by Pope John Paul II in 1991. There are 14 stations, so we have grouped them in pairs and looked for thematic resonance between the two scripture passages.

Each week’s reflection will begin with an interpretation of the passages to bring out each week’s theme.

Each week’s scriptural passages are also augmented by a film. We do believe that film-watching can be a devotional practice if films are approached hospitably, humbly, and with the Kingdom of God in mind. The films we have chosen for each week are meant to resonate strongly with the theme of each week. We intend for the scripture to inform your viewing of the film and for the film to highlight for you the thematic power of the scriptures.

Each week, we will invite you to watch a film* after reading the first part of the guide containing the scripture interpretation and the thematic reflection.

We don’t want you to finish watching any of the films, however. Each week, we also specify a particular moment in the film at which you ought to turn the film off. This will feel frustrating. It’s meant to, because Lent is a time of suspense, a time of darkness, a time to meditate on the need for resurrection in our own lives, the lives of our communities, and our world. Resurrection is coming, but it isn’t here yet. (Don’t worry. On Easter Sunday, you’ll get to finish the films.)

After you turn off the films before they conclude, we invite you to finish reading the reflection and answer a few brief questions about the ways in which the brokenness seen in the scriptures and in the film is present in your own life. Then, we invite you to close in prayer.

The MPAA reports that Americans spend 34 hours a week watching television at home to say nothing of movies and other cinematic media on computers, tablets, and other devices. For Lent this year, we are inviting you to give up a couple of hours of your media-watching per week to focus through films and onto our Savior.

The first week’s reflection is on Matthew 26:36–41, Mark 14:43–46, and Casablanca.

*The films and reflection in this series are intended for adults. Some of the films contain explicit language and imagery. All of their stories deal with issues most appropriate for adult audiences. Use discretion. (Perhaps in future years we will develop a parallel series appropriate for children.) Lent is a time of darkness. Don’t be afraid to look into it. Christ went there first.