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Beyond The Shores Of Australia

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I only know that I was blind and now I can see
Samuel 16:1,6-7,10-13; Psalms 23:1-6; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

Sermon Week Fourth Sunday of Lent Cycle A

Scripture Summary John 9:25

I'm sure most of you can remember a time in your childhood when, that all-consuming sense of panic set in after losing hold of your mother's hand in a department store, and you feared you'd be hopelessly lost, never to be found again. For a five-year-old boy named Saroo Brierley, that childhood nightmare became his reality. His gripping story is now showing on the big screen in the highly-acclaimed motion picture, "Lion."

We learn in the film that young Saroo, while scavenging for food in a train station in India, is separated from his older brother. After a frantic search for his sibling, he boards an empty train, falls asleep and, unaware, is transported more than a thousand miles to a region of the country he has never seen. Homeless, helpless, and hopelessly lost, he is soon picked up by the authorities and placed in an orphanage from which he is ultimately adopted by a loving family in Australia.

Saroo thrives in his new home and becomes an accomplished and well-adjusted young man. And yet he begins to feel a restless call to search for the small village he came from. Cleverly, he employs the use of Google Earth as he obsessively searches for clues to find the exact location of his birthplace. "Every day," he says, "my mother screams my name."

I don't want to be a spoiler, so I will end my account of the film here. But if you haven't yet seen it, I think this is a movie worthy of our attention.

Saroo's individual story is bracing, and makes for an incredible cinematic event. But the film also calls forth the larger universal issues of identity that are central to most of our human stories. "Who am I?" Where do I fit in."

In a very thoughtful reflection on the themes embedded in this film, a columnist wrote, "Even if we reach the shores of our own Australia -- a place of relative comfort, success and respect -- a sense of rootlessness can grow.

"It is possible," he writes, "even as accomplished, sophisticated adults, to slip from a parent's [...]


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