When Entertainment celebrated brutality…
I stood in the Colosseum and imagined a time when it was full.
When the crowds yelled and cheered.
I was in awe of the skill of artisans as they created forests on the floor of the arena. I saw them creating, painting and building sea battle scapes.
Their artistry captivated the creative space within.
But whilst I admired the art form, the Colosseum also made me feel sad. It wasn’t a space that encouraged beauty, or compassion, mercy and kindness. It was a space that brutally murdered people for a belief. Where contempt and anger spilled people’s blood.
Life wasn’t seen how I see a human life…sacred, blessed, dedicated.
It was after all entertainment, art form.
The crowds jeered and enjoyed the show.
Whether it was animals led to slaughter or the cruel gladiator system of power and control or the brutal murder of Christians, people loved the entertainment.
It was a season when entertainment celebrated brutality…
They thrived on it and it was a massive tourism dollar industry in its time.
What I love about the Colosseum story was how this massive tourism entertainment industry came to an end.
It stopped as people began to love one another more deeply.
As people began to see the sacred worth in each other and in the world in which they lived.
As the gathered around the table and gave thanks for the food they were about to eat.
They began to live more deeply and to treasure one another more deeply.
Love for each other increased in their heart.
They no longer wanted to wet their appetites watching one another be killed.
They didn’t want to enter into that kind of art form.
Where people made light of death and killing, contempt and anger.
That’s the power of Jesus Christ.
When he gets on the inside of you, you don’t actually want to be part of anything that is not pure, beautiful, lovely, noble, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
The crowds dwindled as people began to place value on better things than the brutal murder and slaughter of beings for entertainment.
Their entertainment began to happen at the table.
They began to meet with one another, to break bread and share the wine.
The bread that great symbol of our need. That no matter how far we push our bodies, at the end of the day it has needs and needs to be nourished. The wine that symbol of life. That we desire and seek life in fullness.
As they gathered around the table and shared life they began to see one another.
The saw need each other had and tried to meet that need.
The saw desire.
They looked into one another’s hearts and began to love one another deeply, caring for one another. They began to see that they weren’t so different.
So the ticket sales dwindled until the seats in the Colosseum became empty.
There was no huge campaign, no outcry.
It was simply one person sharing with another person about this person called Jesus Christ.
As each person learned about his beautiful way of life, this giving disruptive way of life…
They simply stopped going to the Colosseum.
They didn’t want to go, they lost their appetite for the sensational, the brutal.
They lost their appetite for entertainment that celebrated brutality…
Lives were changed.
Beauty, compassion, mercy, tenderness, sweetness entered the city.
Today Rome captures the beauty of Christ in art form.
The Colosseum today stands dwarfed against the multitude of art that depicts the beauty and wonder of Jesus Christ. The Sistine Chapel breathtakingly beautiful.
In my State there is debate about Dark Mofo, an event that will see art and entertainment around a re enactment of a bull sacrifice.
It reminded me of those moments looking out over the Colosseum.
Of a time in history where the shocking, the sensational, the thirst for brutal and blood was valued.
I can’t change this event and I can’t stop people from going to an event like this.
I can invite people to my table and introduce them to life at the table.
A table that is rich in its beauty.
A table that gives thanks for the provision.
Where we can say, “I love you, dinner is at 6, and please come. I want to see you, know you and love you more deeply.”