By Linda Ross
I was stunned when my three 13 year old Sunday School students told me that collectively they had read “The Hunger Games” 16 times and seen the movie nine times. When I asked what it was about the series that was so compelling, they responded with shoulder shrugs, “It’s really good!” and encouraged for me to see it myself – which I did
Having seen the film, the next week I was prepared with more specific questions. This delighted the class to no end! Given that the venue for the discussion was our Sunday School class, my prayer was to find some related spiritual and moral path for them to consider.
They were much more talkative this time around knowing I had seen “The Hunger Games,” too. First we covered the more general themes, describing the action that kept them on the edge of their seats, the unrequited love, how much they liked the main teenage characters and the stars that played them. But then I asked how they felt about the corruption of the rulers, the oppression, deprivation, and injustice suffered by the citizens, and the school where selected kids were taught how to kill.
One of my students told about an interview she had seen with the author of the book who had been inspired by the innocence of a 10 year old child that lived next door. Adults at times can marvel at its simple strength. The idea that innocence, not lost to exploitation, can lead to freedom is also found in the Biblical story of Daniel. When asked why he had not perished after being thrown into a lion’s den Daniel answered, “My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight.”
My Sunday School class agreed that they felt the film left them with a sense of justice that comes from pursuing the right thing and winning. They thought the following passage, by the founder of their church Mary Baker Eddy, was a good summary of what they took away from the movie:
“The right way wins the right of way, even the way of Truth and Love whereby all our debts are paid, mankind, blessed, and God glorified.”