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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2: a movie review

The final installment in The Hunger Games franchise was released in theaters on Friday. It's the fourth film in the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins's book series and offers a fitting conclusion to the journey that began back in 2012. It picks up where Mockingjay – Part 1 left off and if you haven't seen the previous films, I would recommend doing so before seeing the finale. While it's possible to gain a basic understanding of what occurred in the previous stories simply from watching Part 2, the experience will be far more enjoyable if you're not trying to play catchup.

As far as the movie itself, it is a good bit darker than the previous films which seems fitting given that the majority of the movie revolves around the final battle that the series has been building towards from the start. The rebel forces are ready to launch their assault on the capitol and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is stuck between her desire to fight and her orders to stay behind and continue to serve as the figurehead of the revolution. Those orchestrating the rebellion appear wary of losing her in battle, though their true reasons for wanting her to remain behind are perhaps a bit less straightforward than they initially appear.

Nevertheless, Katniss and her group eventually find their way into the city where their attempt to end the conflict removes them from the larger battle. Throughout the fighting, the film's heroine continues to deal with the inner struggle between the person she wants to be and the role that has been thrust upon her due to the needs of the larger group. It often seems like that battle is far more central to the film than the larger war and for good reason; Katniss's emotional struggle is far more compelling and, coupled with Lawrence's excellent acting, is what sets the story apart from the many others like it that have graced the big screen in recent years.

Part of the reason why that inner struggle is of greater interest is that, on some level, it's an idea to which most of us can relate. We don't always get to choose the role we are called to play in this life and there are times when circumstances dictate what we must do rather than personal preference.

It can work the same way in God's kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul writes to the believers in Corinth in order to help them understand the nature of their spiritual gifts. In reading that chapter, especially in light of the larger context of the letter, you get the sense that he had to address that topic not so much because it was just good information for them to know (though that was part of it) but rather because the church there was being torn apart because its people weren't fulfilling the roles to which they were called and gifted. When Paul describes how an ear is not any better or less essential to the body than an eye and how every part is indispensable to the larger whole, the idea is not only that they each have a role to play but that they need to be content in playing it (1 Cor. 12:14-26).

It may be that God's calling for your life doesn't exactly line up with what you envision when you look in the mirror. It may mean playing a role that is more behind the scenes than you'd prefer or more public than you're comfortable with. But ultimately, the body of Christ cannot function in the manner God intends unless everyone plays the role that they have been gifted and called to play. You don't have to spend much time in churches to see the truth of that statement.

Some of the biggest struggles and the greatest sources of division within congregations come from those who are determined to serve in roles that are not rightfully theirs. Sometimes that's the deacons who feels like they should have more say in how the church is run. Or maybe it's the church member that thinks she could do a better job picking the songs than the worship leader. It can even be the staff member who thinks he's supposed to be the pastor. Whatever the case may be, God has a specific role for every Christian to play in the larger body of Christ and we won't be content until we're filling it.

So if you've found that role, continue fulfilling it in God's strength. But if you haven't, pray and ask the Lord why that is. It may be that he's been trying to tell you something you just don't want to hear and, if that's the case, you're not going to find the peace and joy that comes from knowing your purpose and then living it out. No one wants you to understand your purpose more than God but ultimately the decision whether or not to heed his call will be yours to make. So the next time he speaks, will you be listening?

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