Small Group Questions

At The Movies: Lion 

Introduction:

Average movies entertain us. The best ones inspire us. There’s nothing like watching a good movie. You’re caught up in the story, on the edge of your seat, feet glued to the floor, a bucket of popcorn in your lap. If you want to laugh—there’s comedy. If you want to cry—there’s a romantic movie. If you want to jump—there are scary movies. Thrills, action, drama—everything we long for, because we love stories. We long for adventure. We long for good triumphing over evil. During the At The Movie series, we will explore the Biblical themes of popular movies by extracting biblical principles and examining spiritual truths in plot lines, stories, and characters. The point is to point you towards Jesus. The point is Jesus. Because if we focus on Him, it leads us to the right choices in life.

Something To Talk About:

In the movie, Lion, a five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia.  25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family and eventually finds them. In this story we learn:

We need others in our life: Something unexpected happens. It’s nothing you planned on. Things are no longer the same. Life has thrown us a curve ball. In Lion, there was a major curve; a five year old suddenly found himself thousands of miles from his home. For us, it could be something different: relationships, financial problems to name several. It is during these times that we realize that we need others to navigate life with. The Bible reveals that God designed people to live in community and fellowship with one another. The good thing to remember is that you’re not alone. You need Jesus and you need others to lean on in tough times and in good times. Saroo had his bother and mother and then had no one until he was adopted. Having someone to do life with is better than having nobody.   

Don’t give up: If you feel like the culture is shifting under your feet and you are powerless to get it back on track, you’re not alone. In response, some people give up hope while others struggle but fail to make real progress in overcoming their challenges. Saroo decided to find his family which was no small task. Even with technology, it was a monumental task. But he stuck to it. As a result, he eventually reconnected with his family. It is the same for each of us. It is in these time that we need to stay focused on God. Even in frightening times, we can learn to stay focused on God’s direction for our lives. God will help us find His path and follow it through good times and bad, if we stick it out. 

The prodigal returns: Parables are references used by Jesus in the Bible, that describe an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. A parable was a way of Jesus testing and strengthening his believers’ faith, by giving them life situations, that were applicable to their spiritual lives. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three stories (parables) about God’s love for us, which together form a three-fold parable: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. In the movie Lion, Saroo is searching for his family.  It is not a simple task and it takes years. Every Christian knows the story of the Prodigal Son, it may just be the most intimate story Jesus ever told. This parable shows the deep love of a father for his lost son. I can imagine him praying each day for his son’s return, requesting God to guard him against harm, asking God to help the son even when the son’s behavior didn’t honor God. Many people know what it is like to be lost and far from home. The separation can be excruciating, while the shame of our mistakes haunts our day-to-day lives. Yet, in the final moment of reunion, none of that matters, all that matters is we are home and safe.   

Discussion Questions:

  1. What stood out as the main points/highlights in the movie?
  2. What did you feel in your heart when you saw that small boy stranded and lost on the streets? Home is more than a place. It is people, and Saroo has lost all that home is. Agree or disagree and why? 
  3. How did Saroo find his family? How does that compare to finding God? 
  4. What challenged you in the movie? What questions did it raise for you?
  5. Are there aspects of the story that resonated with your own experience or with the experience of others in a similar situation?
  6. Are there biblical or theological themes or characters that come to mind?
  7. What did you think of the reunion between his mother? 
  8. Do you find it encouraging that “what bring us back to God“ is not necessarily the primary motive for seeking him out?
  9. How do you stick to it when times get tough?
  10. God sought us out first: what examples have you experienced in real life?
  11. Are there ways you already practice God’s presence without realizing it? Give an example. How do you most often experience God? How do you think you’ve come to experience God this way?

Take one thing home with you:

The movie Lion reminds me of a story in Haggai 2. The Israelites had returned to Jerusalem after years of captivity to find the Temple lying in ruins. The Israelites had other priorities than the temple. Haggai exhorts them to get their priorities right: to put the house of God first. This is a story of discouragement. We all face discouragement and when we are discouraged it is hard to stay focused on God. God says through Haggai: “…Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’” (Haggai 2:4-5)

When we are discouraged in our lives, we need to be reminded of God’s promise to us – “I am with you”. When we are feeling discouraged in life, we need to remember that God is with us. If you need convincing, look back through history. The history of the people of Israel proves God’s constant love. The history of the church proves God’s constant presence. But just as importantly, when we look back through our own lives, we gain a sense of God with us always – even when times have been tough, we can sense the hand of God in our lives. We simply need to stay the course to stick to His plan and purpose for our lives.