Ethics & Christian living, Films & music

A prayer in dark times

The Netflix satire Don’t Look Up is about an impending apocalypse caused by a massive meteor heading for earth.

Inevitably, there are references to faith and two prayers are said in the film.

The first is by the President’s Chief of Staff, played by Jonah Hill:

‘I’ve been noticing a lot of prayers recently for people during this time and I commend that, but I also wanna give a prayer for stuff. There’s dope stuff, like material stuff, like sick apartments and watches, and cars, and clothes and s*** that could all go away and I don’t wanna see that stuff go away. So I’m gonna say a prayer for that stuff. Amen.’

The second prayer is said by the young skater-boy, Yule (Timothée Chalamet), in the closing scene. Earlier in the film, he tells Kate (Jennifer Lawrence):

“My parents raised me Evangelical. I hate them, but I found my own way to it. My own relationship….I’d appreciate if you didn’t advertise it, though.”

As the meteor comes closer to earth, the main characters gather together for a family meal.  A last supper. Despite not being religious, the astronomy professor Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) suggests that they say a prayer.

Yule says ‘I’ve got this’. Everyone around the table holds hands and he says:

Dearest Father and Almighty Creator,

We ask for your grace tonight, despite our pride.

Your forgiveness, despite our doubt.

Most of all Lord, we ask for your love to soothe us through these dark times.

May we face whatever is to come in your divine will,

with courage and open hearts of acceptance.

Amen.

The writer and director, Adam McKay, has said that this scene is his favourite from the whole film.

I think it’s a great prayer that is worth reflecting on and perhaps saying for yourself and for our world this New Year?

7 thoughts on “A prayer in dark times”

  1. It is interesting that Yule seems to be the only person around that table who has a prayer. That says a lot I think abut the lack of religious hinterland in our communities. Thus if people want to be in touch with the things that matter they no longer have the language with which to do that.

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    1. Yes – I agree with that. It is a challenge for those of us who have a faith to grasp the wide gap that exists between many people’s experiences of pain and reality and their experiences or perspective on religion. Like Yule, we may be encumbered by a religious upbringing that we feel ambivalent about and there may be a bit of embarrassment or shame, but we need to be ready and willing to step forward and say ‘I’ve got this’ when people need a connection with something higher, deeper and ‘more real’ than they can articulate.

      I have found something similar in saying ‘grace’ before meals when our kids have their friends over. My kids can be mildly embarrassed about this and their non-church going friends are sometimes a bit bemused but they are also appreciative and affirming that ‘this is what you do’.

      Many younger people I find are ‘post-embarrassment’ about faith and spirituality because they do not have the baggage than previous generations may have had. At my son’s 17th birthday recently his large group of mates ‘insisted’ I prayed before we ate and all decided to hold hands. It was a little similar to the scene in the film just without the apocalyptic doom!

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  2. Thanks for this posting Jon. I enjoyed watching the film and found it fascinating. I saw it as generally satirising the shallowness of Western culture regarding things that relate to God and eternity. That’s what makes I think the prayer at the end so poignant – because truth, love, thankfulness and community suddenly appears when all the superficiality is stripped away.

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