The day is approaching to give it your best
You’ve got to reach your prime!
That’s when you need to put yourself to the test
And show us the passage of time.
We’re gonna need a montage. (Montage)
A sports-training montage! (Montage)
Those are lyrics from an episode of South Park in which the boys need to learn how to ski. Now, before you close your browser, this post isn’t about South Park and I haven’t watched the show for years. The less sanctified parts of me still think it’s funny but I just haven’t had enough time.
Montages are a great way, as the lyrics suggest, to show the passage of time. And it’s not only sports movies that use montages. Plenty of nerdy movies use montages as well.
In Iron Man Tony Stark is held captive for six months but a few montages show us how he spent that time. No one wants to watch six months of Tony Stark sitting in a cave but we do want to see a few minutes of him building the Mark I suit.
In Captain America we see a montage of the Captain and his Howling Commandos taking down different Hyrdra bases. Again, no one wants to watch them traveling to or planning the attacks, but a montage of the best action is perfect.
In The Fellowship of the Ring we see a montage of the Fellowship traveling through Middle-earth. Boromir teaching Merry and Pippin how to fight is fine, but nine people walking would get boring quickly. A montage was a great way to depict their travels. If only Peter Jackson had used a montage for the lighting of the torches in The Return of the King.
Sometimes I think it would be great if we could just montage our way through life. Instead having to fully experience hours of the boring stuff, it’d be great if we could just do a montage and get it over with.
That three-hour meeting you have this week? Montage.
That four-hour drive you have to see your in-laws? Montage.
That 15-page paper you have to write? Montage.
The hour and a half worship service you have to sit through before taking a nap? Montage.
I thought about wanting a montage yesterday as I was going on a prayer walk. I’ve never gone on a prayer walk before but, in order to circle our golf tournament in prayer, I committed to weekly praying a circle around the golf course. I thought that a montage in that moment would be perfect. Instead of spending an hour walking in a big circle, I could get everything important done in a montage.
The montage could show me praying.
The montage could show me listening.
The montage could show the Holy Spirit giving me an epiphany.
All of that could take place in a few minutes while a Jeremy Camp song played in the background.
Fortunately, though, God doesn’t work in montages. God definitely cares about the results, but he wants us to get there after going through a journey. I could have easily sat at home and prayed for our golf tournament. But there is something significant in committing time and energy to physically circle something and pray for it. God could have brought down Jericho’s walls if the Israelites had just prayed in their camp, but he wanted them to commit their time and energy to marching around the city.
So for prayer walks or any other journey on which we find ourselves, we shouldn’t hope for a montage. Sure, it would be nice to get the journey finished in a fraction of the time. But we’d only end up getting a fraction of what we were supposed to learn.
And, unlike Tony Stark, we’re not genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropists, so we need all the lessons we can get.
What helps you persevere even when you really want a montage for your life?