Setting The Scene


Contact Opening Scene

Resources needed:

  • DVD of the film Contact (You can also find the opening sequence on YouTube by searching for “Contact Opening Scene”)

Start this talk by showing the opening sequence from the film Contact. The clip you need starts right at the beginning of the and finishes at 3:07


John 1:1-18

Well Christmas has passed. But here we are, looking at the birth of Jesus again! But John wants us to look at the arrival of Jesus in a different way.

Who is your favourite character from books, TV or film? They could be a cartoon character or a person, fictional or based on a real person.

Talk to the person next to you about that character. Tell them as many things as you can think of that they’d need to know about that person that might make them want to read the book or watch the show.

When we start to read a book or watch a TV programme it is helpful to know a bit about the person that we’re going to be hearing about and to get an idea of what the story might be about.

The film Contact could simply have started with the shot of the little girl using the radio but instead it uses an ever expanding shot with ever more remote radio signals. This shows us that although this is definitely the story of a girl and her radio it is also about something much bigger and more mysterious. The opening scene sets the mood for the rest of the story – it gives us hints as to what the rest of the story is about.

In this passage John is setting the scene for the story of Jesus for us. He doesn’t start with angelic messengers or a baby in a manger, he starts all the way back at the start of creation with “In the beginning…”  reminding us that Jesus’ story doesn’t begin with the Nativity scene. He says Jesus was with God in the beginning, in fact, more than that, he was God.

Why does John feel the need to stress this so much? The clue comes later in the passage. The people that Jesus was sent to didn’t recognise him, they didn’t understand who he really was. And because they didn’t recognise him they rejected him and refused to follow him, even his own people. John is determined for us to recognise who Jesus is right at the start of his gospel because when we recognise Jesus we can believe in him and accept him and in doing so, John says, we gain the right to become his children.

How amazing is that? God invites us into his family, adopting us, making us his children. If you recognise and accept Jesus then you are a child of God, part of his family. No matter what we’ve done in the past or how worthy we feel.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be exploring more of who Jesus is as the lectionary readings guide us through his life and ministry so right at the start it is important that we recognise who he really is and to read the story not as people who are outsiders but as children of God reading our family history!

Key Point: Recognising Jesus and accepting him means that we are adopted into God’s family – he is our heavenly Father, we are his children. Do we recognise him and are we ready to accept him?

This talk was followed by the stations:

A Different Perspective

Who Is That?

Family Portrait