ac•ces•si•ble. Able to be reached or entered.
Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of working with some amazing people from all walks of life on our Full of Grace feature film project. It has been a challenging and exciting adventure for me personally and professionally. Our work as a ministry for more than a decade has specifically focused on the production of narrative short films for the young church. We typically work with simple budget, cast, and crew numbers.
With Full of Grace, the Lord gave us a new opportunity with a much larger scope and perspective. And it brought us to LA for production!
From the very beginning of the project, our primary prayer (among many) was, “Use us, Lord, as you see fit.” Being Christ’s presence and allowing the people with whom we worked on set to encounter Christ through the production process was as important to us as the end result.
Our cast and crew of 45 people consisted of Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims, and Nons. Some were actively practicing their faith; others were not.
So here we are together making a movie about the Blessed Mother.
During our ten days of shooting, I really enjoyed getting to know our First Assistant Director (hereafter First AD). His name is Dave. He espoused no particular faith background or interest.
The First AD essentially runs the show. During and in-between takes, he attends to every detail. He is sergeant of the platoon.
Subsequently, the First AD is not always “the nicest person” on set, if you know what I mean. And they frequently butt heads with the right-brained creative Directors and Directors of Photography.
I really liked Dave. He was tough, but clearly loved his job and cared for people.
Near the end of our shoot, I asked if I could interview him for a behind-the-scenes video. He looked at me a bit funny (it was a mix between “no one asks the First AD to do that – are you crazy?” and “I’m honored”), but agreed.
The next day, I was helping pack up gear when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Dave. “Are you ready for that interview?” he asked. “Absolutely!” I responded.
With camera on my shoulder, I asked him to describe for the viewer what the First AD does. After talking for a minute, Dave stopped and asked, “Should I refer to this project as a Catholic thing or a Christian thing or what?”
I shared with him that while we are a Catholic organization, our hope is that whether you are Catholic, Evangelical, a non-believer, or whatever, you would relate to the humanity of the film, so “call it whatever you want” was my response.
He got back in interview position and continued, “This is the first Catholic film I ever worked on.”
And then he started to cry.
After composing himself a bit, he shared three things: “The script was beautiful. We became like a family producing it. And it really made the faith accessible.”
In the moments that followed, I thanked Dave…and thanked God.
Our Father in Heaven is all about accessibility. He has provided not one, not two, not three, but countless ways for us to reach, encounter, and enter into his life.
The Gospel readings over the past several Sundays have all been about Jesus, The Bread of Life. What an amazing God we have, willing to give up his only Son for our sake – and willing to allow us to relive that sacrificial experience every day through the gift of the Eucharist.
Talk about accessibility.
Do you have people in your life, like Dave, who need to encounter Christ in the here-and-now? Not out there somewhere, but right here, right now?
Invite them to coffee and share how you have encountered the living and active God.
Our job is to provide opportunity and the right environment. The Holy Spirit will do the work. As it says in today’s first reading from Proverbs, “To the one who lacks understanding, come, eat of my food.”
God will show up and offer a living encounter anywhere he is invited.
Even on a Hollywood film set.