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The Secret of Kells (2009) is the story of Brendan, a young monk. Brendan’s heart and imagination are captured by a famous, special book. Other monks say that it turns darkness into light. But Brendan’s uncle, the abbot of Kells, forbids Brendan to work on the book. To the abbot, the threat of a Viking invasion is more important than any other concerns. All resources must go toward building the strong abbey wall. Even so, Brendan ventures out of the abbey in search of ingredients for ink and tools for his art. And just as his uncle warned him, the surrounding forest is full of deadly monsters.
The Secret Of Kells And Its Connection With The Bible
Now, the real-life Book of Kells is a copy of the four Gospels of the New Testament, so this movie is really about the Bible. The Book drives the story. It calls Brendan to hold it higher than all other authorities, higher even than his own life. And just as the Bible drives Christians to engage with the world and master it, the Book drives Brendan to journey into the wild. Although he befriends a fairy who guides him through the woods, he is always manifestly different from her. He belongs to a distinct culture. Furthermore, the Book allows him to conquer where she draws back in fear. The conflict between Brendan and the darkness of the forest is a picture of the Christian’s struggle against the world.
Brendan’s relationship with his uncle shows another conflict that Christians face. The abbot wants to protect his nephew’s wellbeing. After all, the forest is dangerous. Notwithstanding, even though he loves his nephew, the abbot forgets the importance of the Book. Rather than treasuring the Word of God and teaching Brendan to do the same, he puts safety first. He trusts in the wall he builds because, like the pagan fairy, he lives in fear rather than in faith. So, Brendan has to make the choice that every Christian makes: he must either serve man or obey the Book. He cannot do both.
Since the story of The Secret of Kells takes place in the past, we can still live today within its happy ending. The Book is on display at Trinity College in Dublin. Brendan is a fictional character, but Irish believers today owe their heritage to people like him who really lived. Yet, we also live today to continue the story. Like Brendan, we are called to treasure the light of God’s Word in a dark world. And like Brendan, we can take that light into the darkness because Christ has overcome it.
You may also consider reading another Live The Adventure Letter article: Movie Review: Kubo And The Two Strings
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