OK campers rise and shine! It’s cold out there! It’s February 2nd! Will there be six more weeks of winter? Well it depends on whether the Punxsutawney groundhog sees his shadow. You may have seen the 1993 Hollywood movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray. In the movie, Phil Conners (Bill Murray), who has the same name as the groundhog (hmmm), finds himself locked into repeating the same day (Feb 2) looping over and over as the audience watches the progress of his salvation and transformation. Let’s use the rhythm of Genesis 1 and 2 “days-of-creation” to see Christ through the movie…
A Day One (Gen 1:1-5)
In the beginning, we watch several loops of Phil’s life where we see just how deeply fallen and self-absorbed the natural man is: formless and void. Each repeating morning begins when the man wakes at exactly 6am to the Sonny and Cher song “I Got You Babe” with the words: “put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb,” foreshadowing Christ’s declaration to the man of His work in the man’s life (See the abiding series).
At first, the man doesn’t even see his blindness. He even thinks he controls the weather: the opening scene shows him as a weatherman on TV blowing the clouds across the nation, and he tells the highway patrolman in the snowstorm, “I make the weather!” But just when he is manipulating the authorities on the phone in his attempt to get home, he gets smacked on the back of the head with a snow shovel – the first in a series of Moses-like Pharaoh-confrontations. Looping again and again, we watch how the man is too stubborn to see his pitiful condition. But, each and every day, Phil sees the groundhog (GH) extracted out of a tree (a tree is a picture of the triune God) and then subsequently lifted up (a picture of Christ). This GH is proclaimed by the authorities to be the “seer of seers and prognosticator of prognosticators.” The day is sunny; the light is come (a day one).
A Day Two (Gen 1:6-8)
After looping through and experiencing the fullness of fruitless behaviors (breaking laws, hanging out with different versions of the false bride, etc.), Phil begins the search for a higher life: the waters above verses the waters from below (where he lives). He starts a serious conversation with Rita (a picture of the true bride). She abides in a different realm. She tells him what it looks like. With the flesh-life still intact, he tries to enter that realm, but after a multitude of slaps in the face he sees it is impossible. He doesn’t realize that it is Him-possible. Then we see him walk past a line-up of six ice sculptures of the GH (crystal clear images of Christ across the six days of creation). At this point in the movie, the man finally reaches an Ecclesiastes 1 experience which runs through several loops. Phil blames the groundhog stating, “as long as this GH keeps seeing his shadow…” (Christ, when he was in His physical form, cast a shadow upon the soil of the earth) “…winter will never end. I don’t see any other way out.” (Christ had to leave his physical form to indwell man). The GH must die. With witnesses and authorities watching and recording, the GH and the man plunge into the pit together (a day two).
A Day Three (Gen 1:9-13)
The man wakes in resurrection life the next morning. The next few painful loops are where we find Phil discovers he is released from the law of sin and death (Rom 8).
A Day Four (Gen 1:14-19)
He then has breakfast with Rita and shares his experiences with her and demonstrates how he is living in another realm. Seated across the table from each other, he describes the deep areas of her life. Phil has now entered into the realm of body life. Like the moon and the stars (a day four), he shares his portion of light with her. She wants to spend the rest of the day with him. They share games, he talks about the crucified life, and in fun she slaps him with a soft pillow (instead of her hand like from before day three). She falls asleep, and softly, he lovingly describes her character and his eternal love for her (that’s our Christ).
A Day Five, Six, and Seven (Gen 1:20-31, Gen 2:1-3)
In this series of loops we see a new spring in his step, a new focus, an outward focus, a life of conscience, swimming through and bringing life into the waters of death and soaring in the heights of a new life (a day five). He even expresses the reality of his new life in another realm by ice sculpting an image of a woman with wings (Rev 12:14, an image of the bride of Christ). The truth of his resurrection life as a new man spoken out loud to Rita becomes the food and drink he lives by (a day six). Seated at rest in the café (a day seven) he is inspired by the music and begins to pursue the art of holy living.
The final February 2nd starts with a heartfelt speech that Phil gives. The day is filled with the rhythm and flow of the new life within him: from ice sculpting to piano playing, from saving lives to selflessly serving others (the restored kingdom where the blind see and the lame walk). At the pinnacle of the party, Rita gives all she has to be with the new man (hmmm). The last thing he does at the end of the long day is to sculpt (or fashion) an image of Rita (the true bride) out of snow-packed material, material from above. The peaceful scene closes with the fruit of more snowflakes falling from above.
A Day Eight (Gen 2)
The last scene begins with the beginning of a brand new day (an eighth day). It’s a day of new beginnings. The transformed man awakens to the “I Got You Babe” song and to his absolute surprise Rita is next to him (at his right hand) and wants to continue to rest. With her at his right hand, they descend from the house, and he exclaims, “let’s live here!” The new man lifts her across the gate into a new day of a new realm and onto the streets of crystalline snow formed from above.
Happy Groundhog Day!