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A Grade One, Galilee Miracle

In the video window below, you will be able to witness a genuine miracle. To spot the miracle and to understand what the main character means when he talks about "a grade one, Galilee miracle," here is the context in which the clips occur.

The Context

Great Britain in the early 1970's. The Earl of Gurney has just died unexpectedly. His son, Jack (Peter O'Toole) inherits the estate and is to be coronated as the 14th Earl of Gurney. But there is one problem: Jack is a "paranoid schizophrenic." Jack believes he is Jesus Christ returned to complete His mission: To teach humanity to embrace His misunderstood earlier message about the importance of love.

As the clip opens, we see Jack's uncle, Sir Charles Gurney, talking to Jack's psychiatrist at the insane asylum, where Jack has been living voluntarily. Much to the consternation of Uncle Charles and his wife, Lady Claire, and their son (Jack's cousin, Dinsdale), Jack decides to return to his estate to take his proper place as the new Lord. With him he brings a huge cross (upon upon which he sleeps) and a kind of unadulterated, childlike idealism that we just might find if we were really dealing with a man who is simultaneously God.

Oh, yes. In order to make sense of the repartee, you also need to know that, after a lifetime of service, the butler, Mr. Tucker, inherited 30,000 pounds from the recently deceased Earl. That's about $370,000 in today's US dollars. Though Tucker continues to serve the family, his new inheritance frees him to speak and act as he wishes.

Sir Charles, Lady Claire, and cousin Dinsdale, plan to have Jack found non compos mentis (insane) so they can have him committed involuntarily and retain control of the family fortune. Before taking that drastic step, however, they make another attempt to convince Jack that he is not Jesus Christ. In the ensuing scene, Jack, aka Jesus Christ, presents a genuine miracle.

The Miracle

See if you can spot the miracle. There is no trick photography involved. (Note that the clip is quite long, more than ten minutes. So you may want to wait for a time when you can settle in and enjoy it. It's really quite brilliant. Alternatively, after starting and pausing the video and waiting for it to download sufficiently, you can skip to the scene with the miracle by positioning the "slider" just past the 2/3 point.)

Press 'Play' to start
[While playing, double-click or right-click the center of screen to enlarge.]

From the movie, The Ruling Class.

The movie goes on (and on; that's one of its problems). But for those who might like to see it someday (and it is worth seeing), we won't reveal any more of the plot. The clips presented here vividly demonstrate a few things. First, normal consciousness and customs fail to appreciate the terribly dead sickness and the full extent of the hypocrisy in much of the established social order. Likewise, we often cannot see the essential vitality in views that would turn that social order on its head, views that are often labeled "psychotic" (and which present quite a few problems of their own).

Finally, this is simply an entertaining, delightful illustration of how normal consciousness misses the point: Normal consciousness fails to see the SUPERnatural in the natural world, i.e., that the natural world is super, mysterious, paradoxical, amazing, mind-bogggling, awesome, and omnipotent. There is no need to use magical-thinking to invent the "supernatural." No need for imaginary gods, elves, pixies, or fairies. The dazzling, effulgent, radiant wonder, the mysteriously marvelous, magnificent majesty, the awesome, resplendent power are all there; we just have to open our eyes.

So, did you recognize the miracle? To view the miracle itself without all the extraneous context, and to return to The Word for a discussion of the meaning of this miracle, click here.