The boys are in bed and Karmen is OOT. I took the chance to again watch one of my all time favorites, Kingdom of Heaven. Historical accuracy aside, there are some deep messages to be discovered. As I go further down this path which I am on, I uncover more as I pick through this film. Again tonight, something stood out in a new way.
I won’t go into depth on the story leading up to this particular moment. If you don’t know the work, rent it. Balian stands on his commitment to “defend the weak” and finds himself as the defender of Jerusalem against Saladin of Syria when the king in power, Guy, betrays the inhabitants of the city in his lust for war and his misguided and arrogant belief that “the army of Christ cannot be defeated.” Jerusalem has just withstood the first wave of attack from Saladin’s army and both sides are collecting their dead. Balian finds himself continually advised by the Christian bishops in courses of action that seem contrary to the truth that he knows in his heart, that Jerusalem should be a place for all faiths. He stands firm despite wondering if “God has abandoned [him].” One such moment is presented Balian as he has made the decision to burn the dead. They are walled in with nowhere to bury the bodies. The bishop informs him that there is no resurrection from the dead until judgment day implying that burning the bodies is against God. Balian states that if they don’t burn the bodies they will all be dead of disease in 3 days. He says, “God will understand. And if he doesn’t, then he is not God and we have nothing to fear.”
I’ve had quite a few people in the last 10 years tell me what God wanted from me. And for too long I followed right along, never questioning, never doubting, never discovering truth for myself, allowing their shame to plague me. Balian affirms for me that the search for truth is worthy. It is sometimes lonely. It is never easy. God is not threatened by it. And it often goes against what the masses and the leaders of the masses say is true. When the bishop yet again advised Balian as he prepared to go out and talk terms with Saladin, he suggested that they all convert to Islam and repent later. Balian’s response, “Monsignor, you have taught me a lot about religion.”