A couple weeks back, we sat down to watch the movie “End of the Spear.” I know what you’re thinking, (said with Jed Clampet’s accent)“Wheedoggy, this pack of mission-minded meatheads are dumb as a bag of hammers. Them folks in that there movie are brutally murdered by the people they went to preach to.” You’re right. They were killed (true story). And, true it makes about as much sense as an anorexic watching “Biggest Loser,” but it is a great story. Such a great story, in fact, that we have watched it about 15 times. This movie is jammed with “moments.” It is a truly incredible depiction of God’s love. The thing is, every time I watch it I am haunted by the same line in the movie.
The culmination of the opening scenes shows one of the native girls escaping certain death and finding refuge with the foreigners. Kinda like “E.T.” only a good bit darker and minus the Reese’s Pieces.Dayumae, as she is called, remains at the mission station and essentially becomes one of them. Fast forward a few years to just after the missionaries are killed. The search teams find an old 8mm movie camera that the missionaries used to document their first contact.
The wives of these fallen faithful are gathered in one home to watch the footage. They sit somberly watching the silent film on a make-shift, tablecloth screen. This is an emotional scatter bomb. They are crying at seeing the living images of their deceased husbands. They are laughing at the ridiculous manner in which these happy-go-lucky guys were clowning away the time hoping for the chance to forge a friendship with this infamous tribe of warriors.
The camera pans off to the right to reveal several tribesmen cautiously approaching the white guys. At this point Dayumae stands and walks to the screen speaking her native language and begins to cry in a panic. It’s obvious she recognizes someone on screen. She turns and faces the grieving women while the images of what happened next unfold across her chest. The horror of these events envelop her and when she finally finds her voice, she proclaims,
“My family killed your family.”
That one line is single-handedly responsible for terminating my hairy-chested, “Doesn’t cry at movies” Mandard (man standard). It wrecks me every time. This young girl’s guilt is palpable. She feels responsible for these executions. It is an emotionally disturbing scene to be sure. But ever since my very first viewing of this film, each time I see that scene I can’t help but think of the day I had a similar realization and looked God in the eye to say,
“My family killed your family.”
My Great-greats, my ancestry, murdered the Son Of God. He came hoping to forge a friendship with me and they butchered Him. In that fragment of time, I empathized with Dayumae. She had been living for years among these people as one of them and in a blink she was separated. Like her, no matter how much time my family spent learning about Him and His ways in the temple, my kin-folk were still members of another clan. That imaginary life didn’t erase the fissure separating my family and His.
After Dayumae’s confession the room fell quiet. These families, who had already lost so much at the hands of this young woman’s relatives, rushed her in a show of love and support. They surrounded her and embraced her. They prayed for her and encouraged her. She was reassured of her place in her foster family.
In this sense art reflects life. Like Dayumae God consoled me and confirmed His love for me. He made a place for me in His house and considered me an heir. He elevated me to the same status as the very Son my family had killed.
Are you reliving the sins or suffering the consequences of your family or associates?
Click here to watch the clip It’s in the first minute