Moore: A great quote: ‘Let me explain! No, there is too much. Let me sum up.’ (column)
I love movie quotes. Growing up, I learned great lines from cultural high-water marks such as “The Blues Brothers,” “Animal House,” “Airplane” (remember “Airplane”?) and, of course, being a self-respecting guy who loves post-apocalyptic movies involving jujitsu and lots of guns, “The Matrix” (“There is no spoon”).
But of all the incredible quotable movies bequeathed to us by American culture, my favorite is “The Princess Bride.” “Vizzini … that word you keep using … I don’t think it means what you think it means.” Inconceivable! There’s a scene in “The Princess Bride” where Inigo and Fezzik are trying to revive the almost dead Westley, who suddenly wakes up after eating Billy Crystal’s miracle pill. Needing to bring Westley up to speed, Inigo says, “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”
I’ve so often wanted to channel the spirit of Westley as I try to convey the essence of my faith in Jesus. “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” How do you sum up the message of the Bible? It turns out someone already has.
Some 2,000 years ago, Jesus summed up the entire Bible in two statements, which is pretty good considering the New Testament wasn’t yet written. In a conversation we have recorded as Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus is asked, “What is the greatest commandment in the law?” The question could just as easily have been, “What is the most important thing in life?”
Jesus famously replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”
And there it is. Love God, and as the chief expression of your love of God, love people. Jesus would go on to illustrate this with his life, death and resurrection. The rest of the New Testament bears witness to this greatest commandment. Sometime later, the Apostle John would say that if we don’t love people, well then, we don’t love God.
My friend, you and I may disagree on many things. Maybe passionately. We may honestly think it of utmost importance to convince each other of our disparate positions. But no matter what you believe, Jesus calls me, above all, to love you, to respect and honor you and, of incredible importance, listen to you.
I’m not sure how to do it, but I want to find a way to have a respectful, honoring and fun conversation with someone who is so different from me that we would never think we could even talk, let alone tell our stories, be friends or (gasp) love each other. It sounds weird even saying it. But then again, it sounded really strange when Jesus said it.
The cynic in the crowd may say this is all rainbows and unicorns, but I disagree. A significant force in our country has a vested interest in us hating one another, and it’s getting really old. Perhaps you and I — we, the people — should try it. What’s my story? Let me sum up … no, there’s too much … let me explain.
Ethan Moore is the pastor of Trinity Church in Edwards. He and his wife Lisa have lived in the valley since 1995.