I hear my death sentence announced. My vision blurs and narrows. My skin feels clammy and the crowd around me steps away as if to avoid the impending doom. I am given the chance to fight for my life, but I know I am too unskilled to save myself. Then a voice from behind says, "I'll volunteer! I'll volunteer!" The adjudication is transferred to the volunteer. The volunteer accepts my death sentence, and even triumphs over death. This person, my savior, lives and I live because of this person.
This substitutionary atonement imagery is part of The Hunger Games movie. It is one of its redeeming qualities. A good story cannot be told without Christian thematic undergirding. The movie also has elements of Orwellian dystopia, Marxist manifesto and gladiatorial voyeurism, which are all interesting topics to explore in themselves, but they alone cannot make a great story. The Hunger Games is not a great story. It is a decent story with some goodness in it. The main character, Katniss, gives the story goodness because she is a Christ figure.
I'm sure a lot more can be said, but the movie can serve as a Gospel centered conversation starter. The film is breaking box office records indicating a cultural craving for some goodness. Presently, this movie is a big deal. People are going to say, "it's a good movie" and "I liked it." So Christians should press into this conversation. "Why is it a good movie? Why did you like it?" The conversation can easily lead to sharing the Gospel. All of us are sentenced to death. We cannot change it. Christ saves us. Christ lives. We live. We get married. This is the greatest story ever and it's true. It, too, is a big deal, so let's share it!