Neo and the Call


I was filing through some of my old writings and came upon this little note I wrote few years ago for my church bulletin, right after my ordination and the cost of the call, themes not far from the thoughts of the cross during this passion week.

November of 2003…

Matrix Revolution came out the Wednesday before my ordination. As a Matrix-maniac, I was dying to see the first showing but I somehow managed self-control to focus on my coming ordination.

The ordination went without a hitch. Tuesday night, my wife and I sped to the Collegepoint multiplex, leaving burn marks. After we parked, Suyun, my wife, teased me by sauntering to the theatre. I threw her on my back and ran. I wanted to see those glorious green-neo letters dripping down the screen, melting of reality.

Its special effects were spectacular, and the final anticipated showdown between Neo and Agent Smith was Homeric, Achilles vs. Hector in midair. The plot twists got me. It was not a Hollywood ending, the hero triumphing over the enemy and french kissing his lover by his side as the credits roll. First shock: Trinity is dead with a steel tentacle speared through her body. No girlfriend to celebrate the pending victory.

Yes, Neo defeats Smith but not by the predictable strength of will (Rocky or any other American hero movies). Neo wins by losing! Neo let’s Smith kill him and infect his body. But by taking into himself the virus/sin of Smith, it can now be destroyed in Neo’s body. Peace is made, the survivors in Zion dance victoriously for the peace won by a sacrifice unseen by them. They celebrate, hands thrust in triumph, while Neo’s lifeless body is taken by the machine.

This twist is revolutionary because it is old, so mythical because it is true. It is the gospel story, of Christ who took all our sins into his body so he may destroy it in himself, thus making peace. So, unexpectedly, the movie became a challenge and a confirmation of my ordination.

Neo’s life was the life of the one who was “called.” To be a pastor means I must be like Christ, like Neo, like many others before me, be willing to lay down my life for those whom I serve. That night, I couldn’t sleep right away, with the moonlight that found its way into our bedroom, I kept thinking about the movie, about the gospel, about my life and quietly made a commitment.