As much as I love adventure, it's also an exhausting Lenten practice. The physical exertion of hiking combined with the adrenaline rush of snake encounters led me to an afternoon of sitting on the couch. I figured that if my body didn't feel like going on a physical adventure, I'd take my mind on the mental adventure of watching a movie.
And what a trip it was.
The Way, directed by Emilio Estevez and starring him alongside his real-life father, Martin Sheen, is the story of a man whose son dies while hiking El Camino de Santiago in Spain. Sheen's character flies to Europe to retrieve his son's body, only to find himself inspired to finish the 700-km trek that his son started. Along "the way," as the Camino is called, he carries his son's ashes and meets a diverse group of fellow pilgrims--all broken people in search of "something."
In my opinion, it's one of the best films of recent years because The Way issues an invitation to live. Even though the story begins with the death of a young man, we discover that until his final breaths he was driven by a passion to live life to the fullest capacity. His father, who was much older in years, had not embraced life with the same zeal that his son had. But in his son's death, he took on a passion for life--and life more abundant.
As we approach Calvary, we remember another man who died at far too young of an age. In the death of that Nazarean carpenter, we received a new life, too. As Jesus Christ walked "the way" of suffering for us, we are called to complete the journey that he started towards a heavenly kingdom. Just as the father in this story carried his son's ashes with him, we carry Christ with us. But the difference is that the one we carry with us is very much alive and desires for us to live. We are all called to complete the adventures that Christ began. Will you take up your backpack, the weight of the gospel which is the cross, and find "the way, the truth, and the life?"
grace, peace, and Lenten adventure to each of you,