No Greater Love Than To Lay Down Your Life for Friends in Aurora

People gather outside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, at the scene of the mass shooting. (Karl Gehring/Associated Press)
People gather outside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, at the scene of the mass shooting. (Karl Gehring/Associated Press)

Every time I read about this story I can’t help but think how incredible this was. There wasn’t just one person who gave up his life for another in Aurora Colorado, but three people, who died in place of a friend. This story for some reason reminds me of the story about Arland D. Williams Jr., dubbed the “sixth passenger.” Do you remember this guy? He was one of the survivors of Air Florida Flight 90, a flight from Washington National Airport headed for Fort Lauderdale. On January 13, 1982, the Boeing 737-200 crashed into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River. Williams was given the chance to take the life-line from the helicopter, and each time he passed it to the next person, all of which were saved, and then he died before they could rescue him.

I’m not sure why Williams’ story comes to mind, but perhaps because that was really the first time in my life I can recall the act of giving up your life for another. I was 12 years old, living in New Jersey at the time, and I remember going to church that Sunday, and listening to a sermon about what this man did by giving up his life for those other passengers. For some reason, that flight and Williams’ actions, have stuck in my mind since that tragic event happened 30 years ago.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

This is what Jesus told his disciples in John 15:13, and this is exactly what, at least three people did, in Aurora Colorado last Friday night at the premiere of The Dark Night Rises. Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn, and Alex Teves all took a bullet trying to protect their girlfriends while the horrific shooting went on in theater number nine. This is the very message of the gospel played out in horrific fashion right in front of our eyes on national television.

This is honestly something very difficult to fully comprehend. Words just can’t adequately imagine the sacrifice made by these people, yet, this is what the very basis of our faith in Christ is built around.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:6-8

In these few sentences, Paul brings together words that exemplify the Christian message, and show exactly what Christ did for his followers. We look at the actions of these heroic people I listed here, like Williams, Blunk, McQuinn, and Teves, and we praise them, and honor their incredible sacrifices, and rightfully so. They died for a friend, and in Williams’ case, he died for several strangers he never even knew. But Christ, who died a horrific death, for centuries of sinners, is given no such praise by today’s culture.

What view would we have of Jesus if we truly pictured him diving in front of a bullet, dying in our place, in a crowded movie theater in a typical 21st century American town like Aurora? He did do this for you.

Bielski Partisans Jewish Life Not Comprehended Today :: Defiance Movie

liam

So today I went to see Defiance the Movie.  This was the story about the Bielski partisans a group of Polish Jews that came together for common protection and to oppose the German occupation of their homeland.  I won’t give the story line away here in this post but it reminds me that those in my generation can not even begin to comprehend sacrifice, pain, and suffering that took place in the world in the early 1940’s in WWII.

I had never heard of or read anything about or known anything about the Bielski partisans group before today.  A group that lived in the German forest for several years until the war ended.  Most of us who live in the free world will never have to understand or deal with loss like these people.  Never have to make decisions they had to make.  Here are a few pics from the movie (all images of course are copyright of Paramount / Vantage VIP).

guns

brothers

Regardless of the movie’s historical accuracy compared to the theatrical take, it made me more aware of what happened around 1941-1943 and promted me to look up information about the Bielski family and how they survived.

Often, at least in the U.S., we take our freedom for granted.  We successfully transferred political power last week from President Bush to President Obama.  No one was executed, no one was exiled, and whatever the problems we face in this country, we are still free.

Free to learn
Free to make our own decisions
Free to speak
Free to travel where we choose
Free to disagree
Free to write our own opinion
Free to create
Free to marry who we choose
Free to vote
Free to worship how we choose
Freely created,
Equal in God’s sight.

Beautiful December Day with Valkyrie Movie :: Friday Feet

Tree in Winter

feet in concrete

This was probably once of the nicest late December days that I can remember.  It was over 70* with partly cloudy, blue sky and I ended up working outside all day.  We ended up taking down our Christmas lights today and replacing them with our “everyday lights” which will remain up the rest of the year (these are lights that go around the inside of our patio).  We started decorating the patio for this coming summer, which actually was an idea in part from a friend Cindy Wall during her baptism (photos will be coming on down the road).

As the holiday days wind down I am really looking forward to getting back to work (without holiday interruptions).  We have so much coming up in the next few months, and I am really looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.  One area we will be ramping up is “Twitter church”.  So if you are not a Twitter member yet, sign up and see what it’s all about.  Once you have signed up, you can follow Cornerstone from @cornerstonebuzz and if you are so inclined, you can follow me at @scottfillmer as well.

My Friday Feet post is a little late because I spent most of yesterday with family and at the movies.  My dad and I went to see Valkyrie and if you have any desire to see the story about the assassination attempt on Hitler, I would highly recommend this movie.  I knew very little about this story from WWII and although it was a movie, it did seem to follow the historical account fairly close.  Although I am not a big fan of Tom Cruise any more, it is hard to deny that this was one of the better movies of 2008.

My friday feet post today is in recognition of the last Friday of the 2008 calendar year.  This photo is on the corner of our patio.  Deb and I placed our feet in the wet concrete just about this time two years ago when we moved into our house.  It is a marker or reminder of the passage of time to me and I look at it almost every time I walk across the patio.  2006, 2007, and a lot of 2008 are almost a blur in history now but this image has become almost a time capsule in my mind of when we finally moved into our house here in Auburn.

Welcome home to all those who were traveling over the last few days, hope your New Year will be great.

A Texas Roadhouse Dinner and a Movie :: Friday Feet

Texas Roadhouse

Ebby and Scott

This week was one of the more crazy weeks in the past few months, but today Deb and I went over to Georgia and had dinner and that is my friday feet this week.  The movie in case anyone was interested is With Honors (because my friend hasn’t let me borrow Dead Poets Society yet).  One thing I have been trying to get to this week was to shoot a new profile photo (you can see the finished pic here) for various avatars and networking sites.  The second shot here was when I got interrupted and Ebby joined me for the photo shoot.  She certainly did not help at all, but makes for a cute photo I guess.  Time to enjoy a few hours of Friday night and some work outside tomorrow.  Being that it is two days from official winter, it will be over 70* tomorrow, time to cut some fire wood.

James Bond Quantum Solace, Dinner and Whirlpool :: Friday Feet

James Bond Quantum of Solice

This Friday night Deb and I decided to take off from working and go see the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace and have dinner at Friday’s (not because it was Friday), and do our friday feet photo post (this one may be TMI, but it’s my blog).  I actually saw two other friday feet posts (here if your on Facebook and follow Kevin, and here if you read Stephen DeVries blog) by fellow bloggers this week and although it was a total coincidence, let’s just say for ego sake it was for this series.

The new James Bond movie was good, although a few observations.  The last movie Deb and I saw in the theater was Casino Royale in 2006 (yes the last James Bond movie), and these last two have been different but really good.  There were few gadgets and the cars were some futuristic hydrogen cell Ford?  The cost of a movie is still ridiculous.  We went to the 4:20 show, ticket were $14, a small coke (I think 8oz) and a small popcorn was $10, and after talking to a friend in China, apparently everyone over there can watch the same movie for $1.00.  Oh well, all part of the fun I guess, and I love the James Bond series, so today it was Quantum Solace.

I used Deb’s feet in the photo again (for those of you new to my blog, yes, we are married for some 15+ years now), pretty much a dead giveaway who’s who, but, Deb put the duck on the left in the photo just for you b/, yes, that is actually a Hook’em Horns rubber duck.  You can’t see it for my big toe but it says Texas across the front.  She’s pretty proud of that duck (although it’s fun to fill him up with water and sink him).