Spirit Sightings

July 19, 2015: What We Reconcile


From Ray McGinnis

In the movie San Andreas, a family is in trouble. Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) plays Raymond, a Los Angeles Fire Department search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, who abandons his post to search for his daughter Blake during a horrendous earthquake that strikes across California and Nevada. On the way out of Los Angeles, Raymond rescues his estranged wife, Emma, who is about to move in with her new developer-architect boyfriend after commencing divorce proceedings with Raymond.

A team of seismologists at Caltech, led by Lawrence Hayes (played by Paul Giamatti), have been studying how to predict earthquakes and are frustrated by the government’s lack of response or help with getting the word out. Giamatti’s character witnesses the death of a colleague during the destruction of Hoover Dam – the first disaster in this disaster-laden movie – and looks constantly horrified and stunned by the data he is gaining from his team of researchers. “No one ever listens to us,” he laments.

The movie has two stories: 1) discovery of a seismic sequential-earthquake event and how to warn people of the danger, and 2) how a family broken from the accidental drowning of a teenage daughter finds a way to reconcile in the midst of earth-shaking events.

There is enough of a plot that the family story of a former four-person household and their fight to survive the metaphorical earthquake of losing a daughter/sister co-joins the non-stop action/destruction thriller in a way that is both surprising and entertaining.

Genre: Action

Director: Brad Peyton

Film company: Warner Brothers

Release date: May 29, 2015

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Ioan Druffudd

Rating: PG

Focus: Because her husband, Raymond, shuts down after the accidental death-by-drowning of one of their daughters, Emma separates from him. She issues divorce papers and plans to move in with her new, wealthy-architect boyfriend, Daniel, who is building a state-of-the-art skyscraper in San Francisco. Emma realizes her judgment about men isn’t on-target when she learns Daniel has left her other daughter, Blake, trapped in an underground parking lot when the first earthquake hits San Francisco. When Raymond rescues Emma from a towering inferno in Los Angeles, she rediscovers some of the qualities in him that brought them together in the first place. On the way to San Francisco, Emma and Raymond begin the first steps toward reconciliation and finding the love they lost.

Explore…Ephesians 2:11–22

What is the “hostility between us” that the writer of Ephesians may be referring to? What situations make us “strangers” from one another, and from God? How is Christ a foundation on which to build a dwelling place for God? Why are Raymond and Emma facing divorce proceedings? How are they brought closer together again? Does it take an earthquake to get people to reconcile in today’s world? What stories of reconciliation are signs of hope for you?

Prayer links

Loving God, in times of upheaval and dislocation we sometimes lose our way. The foundations shake and we become strangers to one another and to you, O God. Help us to place ourselves on a foundation that puts out the fires of hostility within us and makes possible a place to dwell with others in peace. In Christ we pray. Amen.

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