Many of us have been watching Robin Williams for decades. I grew up watching Mork and Mindy, where he got his start on screen and played the role of an alien come to Earth. He was wacky, startling, brilliant, quick, and could stop the audience in a moment with his talent. That was just the beginning. How many of us include scenes from his movies as some of the most moving, poignant, and excellent that Hollywood has ever produced? For me, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, and Good Will Hunting are classics. And that list does not even mention Mrs. Doubtfire, Patch Adams, or Awakenings.
Of course, not every one of these is suitable for children. Like his standup routines, some of the language is crude and some of the content is too edgy. But, when he was at his best, Robin Williams was so authentic and sharp that the lessons and emotions that pour forth from his characters translate across ages, across time, and across society. A life that is lived with transparency and humor crosses all boundaries. It draws us in. Like truth, such life is to be cherished when we encounter it.
I had a similar epiphany this week in worship after I sat down following the sermon. Margaret and Kathryn, both in the choir and both volunteers as Sunday School teachers in our Children's Ministry, leaned over to tell me that they used the same scripture verses - Romans 13 and 2 Peter 1 - for their lesson on respect, an hour earlier. For a moment, we marveled together at the serendipity of such an occurrence. I was reminded that the truths of God's Word are suitable and needed by children and adults. We all need to be reading and studying the Bible. We all need to encounter lessons that remind us of the best possible life - living in response to the goodness and grace of God in our world. Jesus came that we might see that way of living in the flesh.
May we all pursue such a life and celebrate those around us who are living it in our midst. Grace and peace be with you, Scott