We mentioned the Last Sin Eater in our recent newsletter, and I promised to give a little more info about it here.
The Last Sin Eater is based on the popular Christian novel by Francine Rivers. The film is directed by Michael Landon Jr, director of most of the Love Comes Softly movies, Saving Sarah Cain and a few others.
I sat down to watch it today and was pleasantly surprised. I have to admit that every time I’ve seen the title of this movie, I imagined a movie that would be dumb, sacrilegious or both. What I found was an engaging story, beautiful scenery, and a good cinematic illustration of contextualizing the gospel an unreached culture.
Let me give a little bit of context on the title. Where does the term “sin eater” come from? I learned today that belief in a “Sin Eater” was a Welsh tradition to deal with the sins of people who’ve died. According to custom, a monster/grim reaper type figure would appear at the time of burial and “eat the sins” of the one who’d died. In this tradition, someone would be chosen from among the community and then exiled to a life as the “sin eater” this person would only show up at funerals to sweep in and take on the sins of the dead. Usually these unfortunate souls were considered unclean and exiled, only to be considered at the times of death.
The Sin Eater is the subject of this film, which takes place in a Welsh immigrant community in the 1850s. They have brought this belief with them from the old world. It is a dark belief that haunts life in this small community. When a girl who has had some experiences with death starts inquiring about this “Sin Eater” she ends up finding the Truth when she meets a man of God who introduces her to the Jesus, the only one who can cover our sins.
The thing I found edifying in this movie was the point where the man of God is sharing the gospel with this young girl who is trying to find this monster, the “sin eater.” The movie gave a great picture of someone finding a redemptive analogy within a society in order to share the gospel within that context. It was this community’s false belief in this monster type creature that actually opened the door for preaching the gospel.
We are surrounded by false belief and world views that aren’t Christ-centered. As believers, we should always be on the lookout for redemptive analogies in culture that may leave a door open to better understanding of the gospel. This film gives a great picture of that.
Buy Last Sin Eater here