There is a new Jason Bourne movie coming out in July. So I thought, since I was doing a God at the Movies blog series, that I would talk a bit about the movie “The Bourne Ultimatum”. These movies are basically action spy movies, but they are heavily character driven. In the first movie the main character is found floating in the water and doesn’t know who he is – and we don’t know either. He has amnesia. As the movie progresses, he discovers who he is (as do we): he is an assassin. But he also makes the choice about who he wants to be – he fights to leave that life behind. In the second movie he struggles with the things he has done wrong in his past, and how to make them right. He is also fighting for the right to be left alone.
The third movie shows Jason Bourne returning to New York, where he was initially enlisted and trained. It is a sort of homecoming. He is willing to go through many risks – partially because he wants to expose the corruption of his former bosses, but even more because he needs to know who he really is. The movie ends with the bosses exposed and Bourne getting resolution on his identity.
The Bourne Ultimatum shows a main character who is skilled in espionage and fighting – but is essentially a moral character (at times the only moral character!). When he discovers something wrong, he works to make it right. He apologizes for what he has done wrong and works to expose those who have done wrong. Also, when he has a flashback and discovers more of his past, he risks himself to figure out what it means. This is surprising in an action movie. It is also very rare in life.
Very few people take the time to figure out what is going on in their souls. When something goes wrong we rarely think and pray, pouring out our hearts to God. Instead, we entertain away the pain with TV, apps, movies, and distractions. But the real soul work hasn’t been done.
Our identity is in Christ. Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3). Real life, eternal life, is knowing God. God is our Creator, and knowing Him is the greatest adventure in life. We come to know God through nature, through love and relationships, through experience, and especially through His Word (and obeying it).
One of the most important – and forgotten – ways to know God is through your own soul. The way up is in. Athanasius and the other ancient Greek Church Fathers would emphasize this repeatedly. When we do the work of the soul – in silence, meditation, reflection, evaluation, and prayer – we are walking the path to God.
Find your worth and identity in Christ. Take the time to do soul work, every day. It really does make a big difference.