This morning, I watched "A Walk in the Clouds" (starring Keanu Reeves & Anthony Quinn), and am struck by the beauty of the story.
A man who grew up as an orphan, without family, history, or a future, unintentionally and under a poorly-planned ruse comes into a family. The family is not perfect... there is sometimes fighting, sometimes the pain of wounding one another... but there is history, there is love, and there is a future.
Over time, this orphan who came into this family without the intent to stay, WANTS to stay. He desperately longs to be a part of the family. The way the older grandpa gives him encouragement, takes him under his wings, and explains family traditions... the way he finds love and roots... these things draw his heart to want to be a part of the family even though he has no right, and no claim to be a real member of the family.
Eventually, love and commitment draw him, plant him, and keep him in this new family. He wants to be in, and the family wants him in. Though he doesn't understand all the customs, he wants to. Though he has no money, no experience, no tangible *benefit* to bring, he brings his hopes and dreams and is planted as a member of the real family. Their roots (the vineyard/grape roots) become his roots; their story and hope becomes his story and hope. He embraces them, and they embrace him.
I was moved to tears so many times during this movie. The last time I watched it, I cried because of the ache of wanting the two love interests to end up together. This time, I cried because of the beautiful love of Christ.
He draws us in as orphans, without history, without a hope, without a future, and plants us as part of HIS vineyard. Though we bring nothing of tangible value, He calls us his own and says we ARE valuable. Our roots are planted in Him and by Him, we live.
This story also makes me want to be like the Anthony Quinn figure... someone who welcomes in the lost orphan... the person without a "home" or family... the person who doesn't understand things like baptism, sanctification, or the Lord's Supper. It makes me want to grow to be the kind of person who offers this love, and these roots to anyone who seeks. Even if they don't intend to become a part of the family, I pray that the love that I offer might be used by God to make them want to plant their lives in Christ. God, help me to become this kind of loving, welcoming person.