Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, unleashes the true story of a cargo boat captain Rich Phillips whose boat is overtaken by Somali Pirates. This has been a prevalent problem in waters off the coast of Somalia, Africa as numerous vessels have been captured and then ransomed for millions of dollars with hostages as leverage. At its height in 2011, there were 237 reported incidents of piracy attacks according to the International Maritime Bureau. The movie follows just one of these incidents, but does something unique in not just telling a story or over-dramatizing the event. In one scene a conversation takes place between Captain Phillips and his abductor Muse, that reveals the heart of the piracy issue and allows us to thread it back to the gospel narrative of Jesus Christ.
During this brief exchange of words between frightened prisoner Phillips and desperate kidnapper Muse, it is revealed just how terribly difficult life is for a young Somali man. Im paraphrasing… Phillips: “What do you do in your village, Muse?” Muse: “I’m fisherman.” Phillips: “A fisherman? What are you doing here? (i.e. why are you kidnapping me?). Muse: “I’m now fisherman for men.” Phillips: “Isn’t there another job you could take, something else besides being a fisherman?” Muse: “No.”
Muse has no choice but to ‘fish for men.’ If he wants to provide for himself and his family, he has no choice in his country but to go kidnap people. Not to mention more powerful men in his country who will shoot you if you don’t. When listening to this conversation (the extended version), I am became broken for the world and how the presence of sin in this world has led to such drastic measures to merely survive as human beings. The result of that first sin in the Garden of Eden has plunged this world into darkness and into one of violence, shame, murder, and destruction. Sin brought tension between humans and God, between humans and humans, and humans and creation. Captain Phillips recognized the plight of Muse and the situation he was in as not right, as unnatural, and wayward. Muse’s actions and the environment he was subject to is a result of sin and even Captain Phillips in his expression recognized the brutality of his life.
But we have hope. We have a glorious, confident hope inside of us by the Holy Spirit that Jesus will return and restore all things broken back to how they originally were meant to be. We were meant to live in the Garden of Eden. We were meant to live in a utopia, where God walks alongside us in the cool of the day (Genesis 3). We were meant to live in perfect harmony with one another. God will restore this Earth and the people in it back to this original intent. So have this hope that pain, broken relationships, and the escalating hurt in this world will come to an end when the trumpets sound and our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ comes to wipe every tear from our eyes and remove forever the presence of sin. And this is why we are asked to pray come Jesus, come quickly!