CHRISTIANITY: Pizza And A Movie by Gary M. Schimmer

Stories, Scripture, Hymns, and Art for the Christian Journey

Pizza And A Movie by Gary M. Schimmer

From: Emmaus Road

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash to disciples’ feet.
(John 13:5a)

They said they came from Hollywood, where they worked to film the 1960s sitcom, Petticoat Junction.  They landed in the small Georgia town where I was the pastor of the Lutheran congregation.  It always puzzled me how these two filmmakers left the glamour of Hollywood to live and work in a town and country setting in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains.  I met them as they worked for a major pizza chain.  They were filming community events and then inviting the community to the local pizza restaurant for dinner and a movie.

Somehow I got the idea of filming A Day in the Life of a Pastor, starring yours truly.  I approached these two men and shared the idea, and they agreed.  I thought this would be a fun way to involve not only myself but the congregation too, and perhaps it would be a new way to share the gospel ministry.  Who could turn down a pizza and a movie, especially when you and your friends are featured in the film?

So A Day in the Life of a Pastor began filming at the parsonage early one morning.  I was shown dressing with my clerical collar while a Willie Nelson song played in the background.  I then sat down at the desk in my home office and pretended to work on a sermon.  We were off to a good start.

Next we staged a counseling session in the church office, and then I was filmed driving onto the parking lot of the local hospital to make a pastoral call.

That afternoon, as I picked up my daughter from middle school, I said how pleasant it was to see her and how orderly the students were as they left the classrooms for the day.  However, I spoke too soon.  As my daughter was filmed getting into my car, two boys fought in the background.  So much for a peaceful afternoon.

Then it was back to the parsonage.  My wife, daughter, and I sat in the den.  I pulled out my guitar and began to play.  But it was not my fingers playing the music.  Sorry, we dubbed in Segovia.  What was I thinking?  I faked it.  It was reality TV at its worst.

The final scene filmed was on Sunday morning.  The worship service was over.  As members walked out of the red doors of the stately, gray stone church building, they were filmed.  Whey they realized they were on camera, some members waved, Hello, and some made weird faces.  It was all in good fun.

I had no idea that I would be a forerunner of reality TV.  (Just kidding.)  Nonetheless, as this feature film played one evening at the local pizza restaurant, we ate, drank, and watched, A Day in the Life of a Pastor.  It was pastoral ministry in action.  It was “Pizza Vision.”  (“Pizza Vision” was a publicity plan of Domino’s in the 1970s.)

Emmaus Road

Jesus’s disciples continued his ministry as they healed and preached in his name.  They served those in need.  They traveled to spread the good news of a loving Savior.  Some even faced gruesome deaths for their witness to Christ.

On Maundy Thursday, the Christian church traditionally keeps its ancient practice of washing feet.  It is a reenactment of what Jesus did to teach humility and service.  As we participate in this rite, we feel strengthened to follow in Christ’s way to serve a hurting and broken world.  We surprise the world with Christ’s love as we comfort the afflicted, feed the hungry, and provide shelter to the homeless.  We become advocates for the poor and those who have no voice in the political arena.

The ordained clergy and lay people are all baptized in Christ.  We are all priests and fellow believers.  We share a common ministry to wash the feet of others as Christ did long ago.

Gracious God, raise up leaders for your holy church and strengthen the faith of all who follow you.

Hymn

“Christ Be Our Light,” Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) #715.

Longing for light, we wait in darkness
Longing for truth, we turn to You.
Make us Your own, Your holy people
Light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has pow’r to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today.

Longing for food, many are hungry
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us Your bread, broken for others
Shared until all are fed.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us Your building, sheltering others
Walls made of living stone.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today.

Many the gift, many the people
Many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another
Making Your kingdom come.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today.

With this hymn, we sing of our deep desire to follow in Christ’s way as true and loving servants in this world.

Art

Christ Washing the Disciple’s Feet, Jacopo Tintoretto, 1548–1549.

Notice the halos surrounding the heads of Christ and his disciples.  In this painting, can you identify which disciple is having his feet washed?  What are the other disciples doing as Jesus is washing the feet of one of his disciples?  Does this painting help you reflect upon the meaning of Christian discipleship?

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