The film Local Hero is the story of a Texas oilman sent to Scotland to buy a fishing village so his company can put up a refinery. As the villagers dream about becoming millionaires, the oilman begins to fall in love with the peace and quiet.
The oilman’s Scottish partner, Danny, is also falling in love. Marina is a mysterious figure, a lovely marine biologist with an enigmatic manner.
After the ceilidh celebrating the conclusion of the deal, Danny and Marina are out on the beach looking at the Northern Lights.
Danny: Holy mackerel! What’s happening?
Marina: That’s just the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis. High-energy protons spilling over into our atmosphere. They get through the magnetic shield where it’s weak, at the poles.
Danny: It’s still beautiful, I don’t care what you call it. How often does this happen?
Marina: Any old time, although it’s best when the sun’s active. That gets the solar wind up and that’s where the protons come from.
Danny: You say the darnedest things, Marina.
We have another Danny in today’s Daily Office readings, and he’s the one saying to God, “You say the darnedest things.”
I heard but could not understand, so I said, “My lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked shall continue to act wickedly. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:8-10)
From our Easter perspective we know the meaning behind the signs. As Julian of Norwich says of Christ, “Know it well; love was his meaning.”
It’s easy to get tangled up and confused in speculations about dates and times and the mechanics of how God acts in history. It’s easy to lose sight of the meaning — God’s love for us, reaching down and remembering us “in our low estate” (Psalm 136:23).
As our first Danny says, “It’s still beautiful, I don’t care what you call it.”