The Parts and Purposes of Extras in Film, and in God’s Plans

Crowd of Hollywood Film Extras in the 1930's

Crowd of Hollywood Film Extras in the 1930’s

 

Sometimes, I notice an “extra” on a TV show – someone in a quick shot at a table in a restaurant, or, someone who walks by in a street scene, and I pause the show. I especially look for scenes that have the stars up close and the extra is off to the side or behind them. (You’ll see why in a minute.)

I check to make sure my wife, Sharon, is reading or on the computer, and not paying attention, then rewind it a bit. I excitedly ask “did you see that?” and start the action again. As she looks and the extra comes into view, I exclaim “See! See! There I am, There I am!”

She knows I’m pretending to be that person who has this very small part in a program, but still gets excited and wants to show someone. That’s why the scene with the star up front is most effective. Viewers hardly notice anyone but the stars in those shots (“See, you can see the back of my head over her right shoulder!”). But, that extra has a part and a purpose, and I imagine their excitement bubbling over. Even though they won’t even get into the credits, there will be a sense of triumph.

Sharon and I usually then talk a bit about “extras” – their motivation and how they might get a particular part, the large quantity needed for some scenes, etc. (And, she’s so sweet, she’s never told me to stop bothering her with such silliness).

There are stories around about many big stars’ early “extra” days in show business. However, the vast majority of extras remain extras. And, because they do have a part and a purpose, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The same goes for us as Christians. Most of us won’t be famous. Most of us won’t be “stars”, especially in the world’s eyes. But, the Lord has given each of us a specific part and purpose. It won’t be just sitting at a table – but, it might be sitting at a table praying and studying His Word; or sitting down with your family to enjoy the meal you just prepared for them; or having a cup of coffee with someone who needs a good listener or comforting words.

It won’t be just passing by – but, it could be going out of our way to give someone physical assistance; or visiting at the hospital; or it could be figuratively “walking a mile in another’s shoes” to help us develop compassion for their burdens.

We can, and should, get excited about the parts God gives us. But, announcing it to the world with a “See! See! There I am!” isn’t an appropriate response. Simply and humbly telling others how God has blessed us to glorify Him is always correct. And, we should remember where our parts and successes come from.

            As the Psalmist says, all of our triumphs are through the work of God’s hands. “For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work. I will triumph through the works of your hands” Psalms 92:4

The Beatles Came and Went – But, the Word of God Will Remain

The Beatles Come to America - 1964

The Beatles Come to America – 1964

I remember we were at recess at Sallie Zetterower Elementary School, in November, 1963, when our sixth grade teacher called us into the classroom and told us President Kennedy had been shot. Strangely enough, I also remember a few months later, in early 1964, when a fellow student, Lee Driggers, told us during Civics news-sharing time that the beetles were coming. That’s the way most of us heard it and thought it, at least.

We all laughed and it took a little explaining that the bugs weren’t coming. Lee said a rock and roll band was coming from England to visit the US, and they spelled their name: The Beatles. We laughed again at someone misspelling a word on purpose.

I’m sure I could remember more events from elementary school if I concentrated, but overall, the other things I remember are the teachers, and the smell and taste of the cinnamon rolls in the lunchroom.

Yet, I know I was there and apparently paid attention to the teachers at times. I can read and write and do arithmetic (although, I do still have to think about it to remember that 7 times 9 is 63.) So, someone was doing things correctly, and I’m sure it wasn’t me most of the time.

Makes me think about Sunday preaching. I can usually remember some topics and points of the last few sermons I’ve heard (at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) But, I couldn’t list out the sermon topics and points for the last three months. And, certainly not for the last six years – relating that length of time to the six years I spent in elementary school.

But, I can think back on the last six years and say that I have learned from and been affected by many sermons. Someone was doing things correctly, and I’m sure it wasn’t me most of the time.

I (and we) do need to pay attention and think about what is being said in order for a sermon to affect us. And, in my opinion, the preacher needs to spend time in prayer and study in preparation for the preaching. However, while those actions are doing things correctly, they’re pretty much useless unless the One Who does all things correctly is involved.

In the praying and studying. In the hearing and thinking. In the preaching. Without the presence and power of God, it is all foolishness. Yet, with God’s power and presence, our hearts are opened up to Him, and His Word is opened up to us and, yes, we grow spiritually.

We can look back over a sermon, and a month of sermons and six years of sermons, and remember specifics of only a few. But, we also find it has become more common that a verse of Scripture or something said about a verse of Scripture comes to mind at just the right time. We realize we have grown stronger in our faith and knowledge through God’s power and presence.

The Beatles did come and did have an effect on the country, but, my memory of Lee making that announcement isn’t much more than a bit of personal trivia. Some elementary school classes (and news sharing times) may stick with us through time, but it’s the overall process that’s critical. If we have good teachers leading us, it makes for good results – and we learn reading, writing and arithmetic, along with other life skills.

Specific sermons may stick with us through time, but, it’s the overall process that’s critical. If we have our Lord and Savior leading us, that’s fantastic, and we learn and follow His ways and His paths through life – and those are the most critical life skills.

Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.” Psalms 25:4

Beautiful Blooms – Blessings From God

Pink Hibiscus

Pink Hibiscus

Day Lily

Day Lily

Coneflower adn Devil's Trumpet

Coneflower and Devil’s Trumpet

I’ve missed a bit on the blog posts the last couple of weeks, but thought I would show a few blooms from the backyard. At the moment it has been dry and the last few days were super “wet” – not from rain but from humidity.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, neither do they spin : And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  Matthew 6:28-29 KJV

Any Wisdom is From God – in Spite of Myself

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As I crossed the bridge to Saint Simons Island, I glanced at the mirror and saw a police car following me. I checked my speed, saw it was ok, and continued on. The next time I checked the mirror, the police car’s lights were flashing. I looked to see if I could move over and let him go around. Obviously, he was after someone and I was in his way.

When I figured out that he had several opportunities to go around but didn’t, I also figured out that I was the  target of his lights! By that time, we were down the backside of the bridge so there was space to pull over – which I did.

Since I wasn’t speeding, I assumed there was a brake light out or something like that. I rolled down the window as he walked up and said good morning. He made a comment about my coming from Bulloch County (I guess he read the tag) and asked to see my driver’s license. After reviewing it, he made a couple more comments about Bulloch County and asked where I was headed. Then he took my license and went back to his patrol car.

He returned and said he pulled me over because I didn’t have my headlights on in the fog. I nodded my head and silently agreed it had been foggy earlier in the morning. I had my headlights on the entire 105 miles from Bulloch County until I stopped for a cup of coffee a couple of miles before the bridge. When I came out, the fog was pretty much gone so I left them off.

I also didn’t mention that I was among the majority crossing the bridge that didn’t have headlights on. He graciously gave me only a warning ticket and I graciously accepted it and headed on.

I wondered why he stopped me. I’m confident he was observant enough to see that only a few vehicles had their headlights on at that time. So, for some reason, he needed an excuse to pull me over. Maybe, considering his comments about Bulloch County, there was some connection with that. Or, it could be they were looking for a small red pickup truck. Perhaps he just thought I looked like I was doing something wrong. Another something I’ll never know.

Reflecting on the encounter, I see that my tongue could have gotten me in big trouble. An argument that pointed out all the other vehicles without headlights on might not have been taken well. Impatience could have caused problems, too. I doubt he would have been willing to go with a warning ticket to someone who began giving all the reasons he was in a hurry to go. So, I do thank the Holy Spirit for leading me in what to say and not say, and do and not do as a Christian. And, I’m thankful that I paid attention to Him (I wish I did that every time.)

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

Any wisdom is only by the grace of God – in spite of myself.

Father’s Day Windspinner – Reacting to the Storms

New Windspinner in the Garden

New Windspinner in the Garden

 

Father's Day Windspinner

Father’s Day Windspinner

Here are a wide shot and closeup of the latest windspinner addition to the garden. Sharon gave it to me for Father’s Day. All the vanes are attached to one pipe so they turn together. Even in a strong wind, it doesn’t madly spin like the windmill and the other spinner on the blueberry frame. This new one takes its time, and seems to methodically turn as it sees fit. It can be soothing to watch – you can glance at the windmill spinning too fast to distinguish the blades, then see these blue vanes regularly advancing around – in no hurry but still in action.

Could be a good example in the stormy wind’s of life, and a reminder for us to remember Who is still in control in those storms.

And he (Jesus) awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:39-41 ESV

Garden, Blooms and Scripture 8 – Angel Trumpets Galore

Angel Trumpet Trees

Angel Trumpet Trees

Angel Trumpets Galore! We have an angel trumpet plant by Sharon’s shop that normally gets out of hand – growing every which way against the wall and windows. This year, we decided to cut all the stems back except two vertical ones and remove most of the leaves to make them look like little trees. That worked and they’re looking rather neat so far.

 

Angel Trumpet Cuttings

Angel Trumpet Cuttings

But, the result was a bunch of short cut-off stems. I have heard through the years that angel trumpets can be propagated easily from those stems. So,  I tried a couple of ways. Both involved cutting off a piece of a new growth limb about 12 inches long. You remove the leaves and get a stick like that in the pot on the far right (placed in there last week.)

The bucket on the left is filled with water and the stems were simply placed in there “right side up.” The ones in the individual pots were just stuck in typical potting soil.

The cuttings in the water have started growing roots and you can see the leaves that have come on (it’s been a few weeks). But, I’m really impressed with the two in the potting soil that have been there the same amount of time. The roots are actually coming out of the pots drain holes and going into the ground. That appears to be the better method. Now, I can start a bunch, plant and enjoy a few here, and give some away. (sounds like the three reasons to garden!)

They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more.” Jeremiah 31:12 ESV

 

Garden, Blooms and Scripture 7

Lavender and Rosemary

Lavender and Rosemary

Here are the lavender (on the left) and the rosemary under the windmill. First time on the lavender this year, too. I didn’t think about it until I started this series that there were quite a few new things in the garden this year. We weren’t expecting the lavender to get established since we’re definitely in the middle of the hot, humid southeast. But it’s just turning summer so we’ll see how it gets along during the “dog days.” Sharon has enjoyed the aroma of a few blooms already so that makes it a successful “lavender year.”

We know the rosemary can make it here. Sharon had a plant that lasted more than ten years, but didn’t make it through last winter. So this little one is the replacement . Might take some time, but it should come through.

While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” Mark 5:35-36 ESV

Jesus went to the ruler’s home and proceeded to bring his daughter back to life!

A good reminder to trust Jesus to take away all fears – even (or especially) in the worst of situations. It doesn’t mean He’ll keep us from those situations, nor that the outcome will always be what we desire. The fear is driven away by knowing and believing that He will see us through them.