Week 5: The hope beyond brokenness
The Mystery of Everything – a Lent course based around the film ‘The Theory of Everything’
Week 5: The hope beyond brokenness
It’s not easy to give reflections without having seen the film, ‘The Theory of Everything’, based on a book by Jane Hawking with her story of hers and Stephen’s life together, but for those of you who haven’t seen it or don’t have the opportunity to join with the Tuesday evening (7.30 pm) or Wednesday lunchtime (1.00 pm) groups – here are some thoughts for consideration and for conversation.
Lent is a time when we can deepen and broaden our faith. There is so much we can’t explain within our world. How do we come to terms with mystery and faith? We may find that there are more questions than answers.
This is the last session and it looks further at how we admit to being wrong, the amazing possibilities of what we can do and hope, and the power of love.
The film clip begins with Jane leaving home and going to find Jonathan again. We see the rekindling of their relationship and a little of how that develops. It also shows Stephen receiving great affirmation – both from a lecture audience and also by being honoured by the Queen. At the lecture it is Elaine who is with him. At the palace it is Jane and their children as they recognise what they have achieved together. The film ends by looking back at what has been and how amazing it is, despite, or maybe because of, the brokenness.
Questions for reflection on a range of issues raised
- In the film Stephen is prepared to admit that he was wrong. The theory of everything would take longer to be discovered. What might make it difficult for people in leadership to admit they are wrong? Do you find it difficult to admit if you are wrong? Why do you think that is?
- Stephen is challenged about his philosophy of life if he still does not believe in God. He finds this a really difficult question to answer. Why do you think that might be?
- Stephen is also asked about why he believes we are here. How would you answer that question?
- Stephen also ends by saying, ‘Where there is life, there is hope…’. What hopes are expressed through this film? Are they still there? What are your hopes?
- There are many kinds of love expressed in the film. Think through what love means to you.
- What mysteries might you still be thinking through in the weeks to come?
Reflect – either on your own or together with someone else on:
1 Corinthians 13:1–13
I may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if I have no love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy and the knowledge of every hidden truth; I may have faith enough to move mountains; but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give all I possess to the needy, I may give my body to be burnt, but if I have no love, I gain nothing by it.
Love will never come to an end. Prophecies will cease; tongues of ecstasy will fall silent; knowledge will vanish. For our knowledge and our prophecy alike are partial, and the partial vanishes when wholeness comes. When I was a child I spoke like a child, thought like a child, reasoned like a child; but when I grew up I finished with childish things. At present we see only puzzling reflections in a mirror, but one day we shall see face to face. My knowledge now is partial; then it will be whole, like God’s knowledge of me. There are three things that last for ever: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of the three is love.
A prayer of thanks for our humanity
Lord, thank you that I am amazingly and wonderfully made. Thank you that I share this world with others, also amazingly and wonderfully made.
Thank you that you have made each one of us different.
Thank you that you enjoy our differences.
Help us to enjoy them too.
Thank you that we all have this in common:
that you made us with the purpose of living in relationship with you,
that our spirits may become in tune with yours,
and so become more in tune with one another.
Thank you Lord for my imperfections,
for my mistakes, my rebellions, my weaknesses, my failures,
for my limited perspective and faulty understanding,
because all these things, Lord, show me that I need you.
Thank you, Lord for those around me,
thank you that we are all equally imperfect
and that together we need to seek your help
and together we can work to complement each other.
Thank you that together we can learn to bear far more than we ever thought possible,
believe in far more than we can actually see,
hope for something wonderful far beyond this world’s troubles,
and endure all things as we travel through eternity with you.
You may use these reflections on your own or take the opportunity to share with one or two others. You will find yourself on a journey to somewhere you may not yet recognise.
With thanks to Hilary Brand ‘The Mystery of Everything’ .