What I Learned from Men Wearing Tights

If I was going to watch a movie while riding the train, I think I would watch Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights. This is one of my favorite movies. My favorite scene is when Robin Hood, his servant Blinkin, and his companion Achoo have to cross a small footbridge guarded by Little John.

Little John insists that Robin must pay a toll if he wants to cross ("If you don't pay no toll," he explain, "then we don't eat no rolls."). Robin refuses; the bridge is on his family's land (or what used to be his family's land). As Robin and Little John prepare to fight, Achoo tells Robin, "You don't need to do this." He points out that the bridge crosses a little creek ("This ain't exactly the mighty Mississippi," he explains as he hops from one side to the other, "Look, I'm on one side, I'm on the other; I'm on the east bank, now I'm on the west bank.") Of course, Robin insists on fighting ("That's not the point," he tells Achoo, "It's the principle of the matter.") An absurd fight ensues.

This is a great metaphor of how God's grace works: God is on the east bank, and I am on the west bank; sin is what separates us, and grace is what gets me from one side to the other.

We may think we have to pay a toll to cross the bridge; that is, despite all our professions to the contrary, we act as if we have to earn God's love, or at least avoid God's wrath.

We may convince ourselves that the bridge is the only way to cross; that is, we forget that our ideas about God--all our doctrines, dogmas, and theology--are not God.

Or we might not find a way across; we think that the chasm between us and God is too great and the bridge looks too unsafe.

But the truth is that the chasm is not nearly as vast as we think it is. Christ shows us that God's love narrows the distance between us so that it is an easy hop from one side to the other. That is good news indeed.