Reviews of the remake of the film “The Great Gatsby” have been mixed. Film purists have criticized the attempt to modernize the plot while others have applauded the film’s bold attempt to weld the aura of the roaring twenties with our contemporary culture. Regardless of one’s artistic impression of the film, its final scene is spectacularly shocking. It proposes a message which is so desperately needed in our moment in history.
Jay Gatsby is a self-made billionaire who has come into his wealth by less than honorable means. His lifestyle goes beyond the word extravagant. Money is no issue for Gatsby as he tries to spend his way to obtain the one thing in life he doesn’t have – true love.
The movie ends with Gatsby in a coffin, shot dead. More striking though, is that only one person is present at his funeral. Only weeks earlier Gatsby had been the talk of New York, the man who hosted the most fabulously decadent weekend parties which everyone wanted to attend. But in death, he was alone, very much alone. His “friends” had disappeared as his life unraveled. His money could not help him. And even more tragic, he never did find the love he was seeking.
The message of “The Great Gatsby” is laser like: money, no matter how much a person has, can buy happiness. That message has been around a long time. People acknowledge it as true, but the lesson is not well learned by most. People may say “money can’t buy happiness”, but they still live as though it does.
And that brings us to Pentecost. Pentecost is a story about a message too, but it is a completely positive message. Fifty days after Jesus Christ rose from the dead he empowered his disciples to take the message of his resurrection to the world. Pentecost describes the power of the Holy Spirit enabling a few ordinary people to change the world in an extraordinary way. What money can’t do, Jesus Christ can. And that is one of the messages of Pentecost which people today so desperately need to hear and understand. Join us this Sunday at 10 am. Be a part of getting that message out!