Although American Graffiti is about the last night of friends before summer ends, for me it is all about the cars. So keeping an eye on them, during one street scene a 1972ish Chevy sedan is seen cruising, obviously the editor isn’t a car guy. Where was he in ‘62? Same with Diamonds are Forever, where James accompanied by Jill St. John goes into a one way alley, and goes up on two wheels leaning to one side, and comes out leaning on the opposite side. Maybe we are supposed to be concentrating on Miss St. John, I was, but noticed it after about the 20th time I saw it. And films have no claim to exclusivity in mistakes, how many have seen a villian in a new Lincoln sedan, and an older Chevy goes over the cliff, and a thirties car is on fire at the bottom? Happens all the time, but just not to criminals either. Adam 12 in the later years drove an AMC Matador, but scenes showing the dash and speedo are definitely late sixties Plymouth. And in how many chase scenes does it sound like they are shifting that Torque Flite endlessly? How many gears does that old three speed have in it? Remember Starsky and Hutch, supposedly Starsky hated the car and ran into things on purpose, I can remember some scenes the front end toed out, yet when leaving on the next scene all is well. But my favorite was they were chasing a bad guy in a 1963 white Chevy, that turned into a green 1964 Chevy just before going over the cliff. Lots of cliffs out there. And then later the same green 1964 is seen being driven by the crooks. Maybe not filmed in continutity....but we noticed it anyway.
But maybe the car that took the most lickings and still kept ticking was Jim Rockford’s Firebird. Gold with white walls, 853 OKG, which started out as a 1974, and ended up a 1979, seems Garner didn’t like the new 1980’s front ends, I didn’t either. But in one scene, in an early show, he has raised white tires on a Formula, later the same car is different, now an Esprit, with the signature white walls. How many times was that car wrecked or chased beyond repair, only to show up a few scenes later the same day in one piece? Yeah, I know there were multiple cars, but this was real life TV, wasn’t it? And we have come to identify cars by their film or TV roles, some being more famous than the actors. Ask Pontiac how many Trans Ams they sold after Smokey and the Bandit? The black not available until after the movie came out. No telling how many cars were wrecked in it. But from red Fords being chased by John and Ponch and rolling over as a blue Torino, from interiors not matching the brands interior, to multi-geared transmissions, to Miss St. John leaning one way then the next, keep a watchful eye out. Someone is always looking....
As Christians we are always on display, seems everyone knows how we should behave, except the watcher who exhibits his life differently. But Jesus advises us to watch, for the master will return and we don’t know when. Be alert, don’t go to sleep, don’t wander off. Don’t quit living like a Christian, for temptations and trials will prevail if we do. Just a little slumber, and a seed is planted, and soon we develop other habits. Thinking, well the master hasn’t come yet, I’m OK. But just because you don’t see him doesn’t mean he doesn’t see you! But while we are watching for his physical return, we miss the fact that his spirit never left us, and that we can be deceived easily. We are leaning one way today, the other way tomorrow. Hoping no one realizes how we have changed...but we know, even if we don’t admit it. I have encountered too many Christians over the years, who have fallen away. Name an excuse, jobs, family, drugs, illness-they have seen it all. But Jesus. They were busy living a church life based on who saw the way they lived, but outside of church became another. Double minded, and soon one mind took over the other. Slowly but surely. And soon the white car life they lived turned to green, and no one noticed, for they had dropped out of sight. Gone over the cliff, and still believe in God, they just don’t act like. If he hasn’t come back yet, he isn’t coming. Yet Jesus only tells them “watch!”
It is tough being a Christian if it is all about the external, but when spirit driven, we change from the inside out. Funny how sin changes us the same way, and in both cases we only concern ourselves with the external. When we start looking and listening to others, we fall short of hearing God’s voice. It is still and small, doesn’t scream and is familiar. And unlike cars in the movies, he never changes. Once a Firebird, always a Firebird. He is also aware of all the cars in the scene, and the actors too. Us, who sometimes worship things more than the creator, or the men and women he created.
So don’t let anything derail you from Jesus. If we are as spiritually alert as we are for spotting car bloopers, maybe we would see a different side of Jesus. We would be looking forward to his return, anxiously waiting to go to heaven. But for now we have to settle for his promise of on earth as it is in heaven. For the spirit to guide and encourage us, to forgive others as he forgave us, and show his love as he loved us. That ought to keep us busy enough. Funny it took me several times to notice the red Mustang change directions when 007 drove it, don’t take as long with Jesus. He is right in front of us right now. Our actions will reflect what is on our heart, and what we really believe. The most effective witness is our actions. That is why we walk in faith, and work out our salvation every day. For like cars in film, things are every changing. Aren’t you glad Jesus isn’t? Some live life waiting for Jesus to return, his spirit never left. Don’t live like 007’s balancing act....stay straight and true...10-4 good buddy.
love with compassion,