Fear, Freedom and the Gospel in The King’s Speech

Happy weekend to you, dear reader. I hope you are having a good time with your significant other, or celebrating National Singles Awareness day/weekend by writing snarky comments on blogs. Whatever the case may be, thanks for stopping by.

If you should find yourself looking for a good movie to take your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or just tag along as a third-wheel with, allow me to suggest The King’s Speech.
Why The King’s Speech, you might ask? Because this is a story that paints a fantastic picture of the gospel, that’s why. Now, before you object that there is not a character who makes himself God, gets condemned to crucifixion and raises himself from the dead, allow me to point out the overtures of the community of Jesus in this fine film.

As we enter into the dramatic, true story of early 1930’s England, we meet the aging King George V (Michael Gambon) and his two sons, the eldest Prince Edward (Guy Pearce)- a handsome and well-spoken playboy- and the younger, round and ever-stuttering Bertie (Colin Firth). Bertie has not only been born in the shadow of his father, the great king, but much more his big brother, whose constant bullying seems to have permanently shattered his confidence.

It becomes apparent quickly that when King George V dies, Prince Edward, too focused on his own comfort, will not stand up to the challenge of leading a nation through a second world war. Bertie will be the man for the job and he absolutely must learn to speak with confidence to a nation in desperate need of a confident voice.

Enter the slightly eccentric Australian, Lionel Logue (Geoffery Rush), voice instructor extraordinaire.

In contrast to the swath of coaches, counselors and doctors Bertie has seen before, Logue works to build relationship, trust and even friendship between the two of them. The focus of their time together has nothing at all to do with performance. Logue asks nothing of his royal client except for trust. No results, just simple trust.

The movement in this movie is from paralyzing fear to confident freedom. How desperately do many of us need this movement in our own lives? John Calvin wrote a long time ago: The most audacious despiser of God is most easily disturbed, trembling at the sound of a falling leaf. For all our bold talk of independence, self-reliance and emancipation from God there is so much fear in our world. This is just as true in the church as it is outside.

Think back to the last time you were in church. Were you afraid of letting others know? Were you paralyzed into never-ending small talk and meaningless, albeit pious word?. It seems we really are like Bertie, afraid not only of our Father but of our older brothers who have been more than willing to prey upon our weaknesses in the past.

It is no wonder then, that we would rather hide out in the secure isolated bunkers we have constructed for ourselves than become bold enough to bare our souls to our Father, let alone a brother.

The movie gets it right, though. Freedom lies in being vulnerable. Bertie, the shell of a man we see at the beginning of the movie, becomes King George VI, a voice of comfort and stability during World War II. Over the airwaves, the king gave hope to a nation- but his friend never left his side. He was never free from the need of community but only free insofar as he trusted the community that came to him.

True community casts out fear and makes it possible to live in freedom.

But don’t take my word for it, go see the movie.

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