The Messiah Complex

I saw this post the other day and it got me to thinking about The Godfather, one of my favorite movies. I like all of the movies in the trilogy, even the third one. Well parts of it anyway. It was necessary to tell the whole story, to show the sad conclusion to Michael’s life. But the first one stands alone. The conclusion with Michael now and the flashback to Michael at the beginning is one of the saddest moments in movies.

For me one of the most telling scenes in the movie happens on the steps of the hospital. The little baker is shaking so bad he can’t light his cigaret. So Michael lights it for him. Michael looks at the lighter and his hand. He’s not shaking. A simple scene. Almost subliminal. It doesn’t shout it’s message. But it’s here that Michael begins his journey to the dark side. Who can lead this family out of the criminal underworld they live in? Not Sonny. Too volatile. Not Fredo. Doesn’t have the nerve. It must be Michael.

So begins his journey. Reminds me a little of Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness. The protagonist sets out to lead the savages out of the wilderness and into civilization but finds himself instead becoming one of them. The Messiah complex.

Think about this in relation to what we like to call ‘the call of God upon our lives.’ I feel that God is asking us to step out in faith, to do something that seems impossible, to walk on the water. I have some success. I begin to think that God called me because He saw something in me that nobody else had. He called because of my superior speaking ability, my intelligence, my stunning good looks. He called because God needed me. Nobody can save this world but me. Like Michael. Nobody can save this family but me.

The truth is that God is looking for willingness much more than talent or ability.

I write this stuff, most of it nonsense, and every once in a while something clicks, something works. Somebody might say ‘Hey that’s cool. That’s real wisdom.’ and I want to say ‘Yeah I know’ because I’m as surprised as anybody. Because I know it didn’t come from me.

It came from God.


About Angus Lewis

My wife and I lived our whole lives in Arkansas until ten years ago. We moved to the Kansas City area in 2011 (a job change). That was the reason for the 'From a Far Country' title. Our children and grandchildren were in Arkansas. Six months ago we sold our house and bought one in Sherwood, Arkansas and my wife moved back down here. Two weeks ago I retired and moved back too. (I'm probably going to try to find something part time to keep me out of trouble.) So maybe the 'From a Far Country' title is not so much of a fit anymore. But I think I'll stick with it. I'm still not home. Not yet. The Bible says we are all strangers and pilgrims here. Our real home is with God and some day we'll be there. We'll be home.
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2 Responses to The Messiah Complex

  1. manoahswife says:

    I have to admit that “The Godfather” movies are some of my least favorites. I found them dark and depressing but I always considered them to be fiction. . . until we moved to Cherry Hill, N.J. After we had lived there for a short time, I began to understand how “non-fiction” they really were. Stories from my neighbors and from some of my husband’s employees (who came from “the family” but were no longer part of the “family business”) were enough to convince me. There were roads in Cherry Hill (that were actually private driveways) you just didn’t inadvertantly drive down.

    Certainly it is an easy to get where you believe, like Michael, that it is your responsibility to save others. There is only one Savior and He is not sharing that title with anyone. It is also easy to start believing your own press when people begin to praise you for all “your wonderful accomplishments.”

    You are right–God is looking for a willing heart more than anything. He gives us abilities and talents in order to accomplish that which He has pre-ordained (the call of God on our lives). Pretty silly to get all puffed up over something we had nothing to do with and yet we do it all the time.

    I might just have to go back and rewatch the Godfather movies. Maybe I missed something the first time around. . .

  2. Neeks says:

    Loved that last paragraph, it brought me back to earth. Thank you. My daughter asked me once, why do we say grace at dinner, and I told her “honey, you always thank the cook.”

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