Although I would not make a good Jeopardy! contestant and I seldom win at Trivial Pursuit, I tend to remember unusual things about movies. A few facts stick in my mind, like where the movie was made, whether the movie was based on a book I’ve read, and who played in the starring role.
I also remember a few movies where a lead actor played in more than one role. Of course, it’s easy to recognize a face when one actor plays the role of twins, as Lindsey Lohan did in The Parent Trap. Eddie Murphy’s face appeared prominently in The Nutty Professor, a movie in which Murphy played seven characters. Not as obvious is the face that appeared in dual roles in the popular movie Forrest Gump. Sally Fields plays a leading role as Forrest’s mother, but also a minor role as a reporter who asked Forrest a question during his cross-country run.
Recently, as I was channel surfing, partly out of curiosity and partly for nostalgic reasons, I paused to watch a little of Back to the Future II, especially since the future date to which Marty McFly traveled in the movie was 2015, a year now gone by. What I had forgotten about the movie was that the young Michael J. Fox played three characters, all within the same family: Marty McFly, Marty McFly Jr., and Marlene McFly.
In the new TV mini-series Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac stars in a trio of roles including Mark Spector, Steven Grant and Jake Lockley.
In the biblical drama, perhaps God also engaged in the simultaneous roles of Father, Son and Spirit. And in each of those roles, which were in the script prior to creation, God gradually appeared on the stage of history.
While there is no literal mention of the Trinity in Scripture, the biblical narrative certainly develops the characters of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since childhood, many of us have lifted our voices in praise to “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”
In his book Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey observes that, “God’s image shines through us most clearly in the act of creation — comprising the three stages of Idea, Expression and Recognition — and by reproducing this act we may begin to grasp, by analogy, the Trinity.”
If the voice of God sounds familiar, perhaps you’ve heard it before in a whirlwind or in a whisper. Or, if the face of God seems familiar, perhaps you’ve seen it before, in a garden called Eden, on a mount called Sinai, or on a cross called Calvary. And if neither the voice nor the face are familiar, maybe it would be worth your time to explore the story again.
Barry Howard serves as pastor at the Church at Wieuca in North Atlanta. He also serves as a leadership coach and columnist with the Center for Healthy Churches. He and his wife, Amanda, live in Brookhaven, Ga.
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