Lifted On The Cross in MOCKINGJAY Part 1 | FCC 51

On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, we take the elevator down to District 13 as we look for Christian themes in THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY Part 1! Is the Rebellion still holding on to the sinful nature of the Capitol? Is the Mockingjay symbol being held up in the wilderness like Christ on the Cross? All that and more in 3, 2, 1!

Throwing Off the Capitol’s Sinful Nature

In order to keep up appearances with the people of Panem, the Capitol produces what we would call Public Service Announcements – short and concise messages with a little flair so as to be appealing to the masses (or at least the masses who are still enchanted by the Capitol’s decadence). This proved to be an effective method of communication, so the underground District 13 has decided to emulate it in getting their Mockingjay propoganda shorts – aka propos – out to the other districts who are participating in the Rebellion against the Capitol. The only problem is that in copying this practice from the Capitol, they are encouraging the continuation of the Capitol’s “sinful nature” and in effect are hurting their own cause. We can hear this kind of sinful nature in the scene in which Plutarch Heavensbee and a production team try to create a propo with Katniss, the Mockingjay incarnate.

This is an image from the film HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY Part 1 that features Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket as they are about to film a propo for the Rebellion.

This mirrors the brief parable Jesus uses to illustrate what is supposed to happen whenever we are first transformed by God’s grace:

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins. (Mark 2:22)

The leaders of District 13 are trying to break away from the Capitol and begin a new Panem, but they are trying to accomplish this mission by using the same techniques as the Capitol. We can unfortunately fall into the same trap whenever we, after having been freed from the law of sin and death, try to work out our salvation by the same tactics and processes of sin. Who’s to say whether or not the leaders of District 13 will change their ways, but we are called to change our ways, and Paul says it best in his letter to the Ephesians:

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. (Ephesians 4:21-24)

Mockingjay Lifted On The Cross

Mockingjays, as defined by the Hunger Games Wikia, are “excellent mimics” that “have the ability to memorize and repeat both bird and human songs.” They sprang from the mating sessions of the all-male jabberjays and whatever female mockingbirds they decided to seduce (huh, that’s a weird thought). Of course, their meetings were arranged by the Rebels in order to turn the tables on the Capitol; how fitting to then use the symbol and the legend of the Mockingjay to ignite the present Rebellion taking place. Under the Mockingjay symbol, the Districts can unite together and become galvanized as one powerhouse set against the Capitol. And since Katniss embraces the Mockingjay in her wardrobe (something highly reputed among the Districts), it was decided that she should then be the embodied Mockingjay symbol under which the new Panem could be established.

This is an image from the film HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 that features Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss Everdeen.

As Moses was leading the Israelites in the wilderness, they (not surprisingly) begin complaining over the lack of food. God sends down that beautiful creation called manna which was supposed to be sufficient for them. It wasn’t, however, and they began complaining again. God then causes poisonous snakes to start biting the grumblers and killing them because of the poison. This finally snaps the Israelites back into focus, and they begin begging for a cure. God then instructs Moses to construct a bronze snake on a pole so that whoever may look upon it may be healed of the poison.

In like manner, Jesus Himself had to be held up on the cross for whoever would believe in Him and thus accept the eternal life He is offering. In the same way, the Mockingjay – Katniss herself – has been lifted up on a metaphorical pole for all to see and for all to have the chance to embrace the new life of freedom which she brings. Jesus tells it to Nicodemus plainly:

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:14-17)

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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a good way to use stories to soften peoples' hearts. Find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever.
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