My wife was having a restless night earlier this week. I woke to find the other side of the bed empty and the living room tv running a streaming movie. It was the usual fare of family-oriented/Hallmark romance but it had an intriguing presentation of Christianity. I found it as positive as anything I’ve seen lately. It helped my spouse get her much-needed rest; she fell asleep during.
The peripherals are familiar: a struggling small business owner needs to win a contest to get enough money to keep, in this case, a dance school afloat. There’s something like a local dancing with the stars thing, which happens to be the main acting credit of the female lead in real life. The other central character is a widowed dad of two daughters who is struggling at his job and his parenting. The two are paired up for the contest. Like all these movies, the viewer knows the happy ending; it’s all about the journey that gets them there–the kids, the adult sidekicks, the obstacles from without and within.
Faith, the dance teacher, is intrigued by her partner Jimmy’s expression of faith at a meal they share. He extends his hands while he prays. His friend, confessing she has not been baptized, also mentions she wasn’t sure if the expected practice is to hold his hands or not. He makes light of it, saying he always holds his hands out, just in case the other person wants to go either way.
A gentle evangelization proceeds. Faith stumbles into a Bible Study at Jimmy’s Greek Orthodox Church. The daughters invite her to their bedtime ritual, which includes prayer, and she obliges their insistence when it is her turn to pray. She is intrigued by the IC XC NI KA she sees on her friend’s hoodie and at the church. She remembers something that touched her during the Bible study, Matthew 11:25-30.
In the film’s epilogue, her baptism day is one of the highlights of the happy ending, along with the expected nuptials and an unexpected miracle of sorts.
It struck me that this film illustrates what effective and fruitful evangelization looks like: gently surrounding an unbaptized person with a community of friends, a seeker who is curious about faith practices and is open to going deeper, people who are aware of God’s activity in ordinary life. Not just the big events.
This film is streaming on Tubi, and maybe a few other places.