One of the things I love in life is a really good film and my confession is that I particularly like a good 1980’s action film. Some of you reading this may be old enough to remember when action films were somewhat less complicated – you knew who the bad guys were and who the good guys were, so let battle commence!
One particular type of film that often sits within the ‘action’ genre is what’s known as a ‘buddy-buddy’ movie. This usually involves two people who would never normally associate with one another being forced into action together by some unusual set of circumstances. They start out basically hating each other but by the end of the film they are the closest of friends and would die in a ditch for each other!
Sitting within that genre are some of my favourite films, including Lethal Weapon (the first one), and a little-known classic called Midnight Run. In Lethal Weapon, Danny Glover plays a well-adjusted cop, with a lovely family, living in suburbia as he looks forward to retiring. He is paired with Mel Gibson’s ex-military cop, who is widowed, borderline suicidal and, let’s say, unconventional in his approach to policing.
In Midnight Run, Robert De Niro is embittered bounty hunter Jack Walsh, who takes the job of tracking down “The Duke”, an ex-mob accountant played by Charles Grodin, only to find that they have more in common than it would appear…
What I love about both these films is not only the action but the dialogue between the characters, and the way they come to understand and support one another when the going gets tough. (By the way, both films ought to carry a ‘pastoral advisory’ sticker with regard to the extremely fruity language, so be aware!)
I wonder if you can think of a any times when you have been really up against it and needed someone to come alongside and go through whatever it was with you? Not necessarily in tackling a cartel of heavily armed drug-dealers (Lethal Weapon) or racing across the country whilst avoiding mobsters and the FBI (Midnight Run), but the kind of problems that beset everyone at some time or other. Not only that, but to keep us on the right track, and to sharpen and encourage us in our day-to-day lives?
In other words, who has got your back? And whose back have you got?
As we go through life together, we need people we can trust, really trust, because there are times when each of needs help and, besides, we all need to know we have people we can talk to and hold us to account for the way we conduct ourselves in life.
So, if you were in a buddy-buddy movie, who might be your co-stars?
In the context of church life, and our journey as followers of Jesus, it’s simply a matter of fact that we will go through some tough times. And most days, if not every day, it helps to at least know you have those kinds of people in your life who would ‘die in a ditch with you’ so to speak. People who really know you, warts and all, and who are there for you, as you are for them.
At EBC, we believe that having such people around is not optional but essential to our development as Christians. Without them, going it alone, we’ll come unstuck sooner or later. That is why we encourage everyone to be in what we call a ‘Life Group’ and here is what we think they look like and what they do:
If you are not in a group like this, we want to help you either to form such a group or find one you can join. There are lots and lots of opportunities to build friendships at EBC, and it’s from friendships that these relationships of deep trust and shared accountability can flow. We’re not about to send you off on a highly dangerous ‘action adventure’ of course! Or are we?
Truth is, being a follower of Jesus is not easy, and we can find ourselves in many kinds of battles. Who would go into battle with?
The challenge is to make sure that everyone in the EBC family has a group or groups like the one above, where we have one another’s back, can talk about anything in complete confidence, pray with one another, “correct, rebuke and encourage” one another, as needed, and above all be absolutely ‘for’ the other people in the group.
Proverbs 27:17 (New Living Translation)
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Who is sharpening you, and whom do you sharpen?
Simon Lace, 09/06/2022