The Once And Future King (Bobby)

Bobby is a movie about of the events leading up to the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel, in Los Angeles California, in 1968. One of those events taking place was in the world of baseball where the Dodgers’ pitcher, Don Drysdale, had pitched five consecutive shutouts and was about to go for number six on the same day as the California primary.

In the movie, there is a worker in the kitchen at the hotel named Jose Rojas. He has tickets for the game but because Senator Kennedy’s election watch party is at the hotel, he has to work a double shift and can’t go. The head chef, a man respected by all, finds him and tells him he heard Jose has some tickets he needs to unload. Jose lays the tickets on the table. The men talk about the historical significance of the game. Drysdale has a chance to break a record that has stood for over fifty years. Jose points at the tickets on the table and tells the chef, “They’re yours man.” The chef is surprised. “But we haven’t discussed a price,” he says. “There is no price,” Jose says. “Enjoy the game.” Now the chef is even more surprised. 

Then it is the chef’s turn to give Jose something. He takes his marker, turns his back to Jose and draws a picture on the tile wall.  Underneath the picture he writes five words. The picture is of a crown and the words say, “The once and future king.” He tells Jose, “That’s you . . . the story of King Arthur . . . You know that Arthur wasn’t always a king.  He was a young man once, like you. You, Jose, are a young king. Kind, caring, humble. Eager for adventure. And so I thank you, humbly, for these tickets, my young brother, my young king.”

And that does something for Jose—how could it not?  He’s says nothing but his radiant expression says it all.  No one has ever spoken to him like this—he’s a kitchen worker doing a double shift instead of going to a ballgame.  The last thing he feels like is a king.  But if the head chef has said he is a king—then there must be something to it! 

It’s the kind of speech that is not unlike our Father. This is why Jesus called Cephas a rock and Nathaniel a true Israelite (John 1:42,47). God calls us saints (i.e., “holy ones”), priests, the body of Christ, and children of His. How can these things be? Ah, but they are! 

And if He says things about us that we would never dream to say about ourselves, it’s because He can see things in us that we cannot see in ourselves. And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?  For we know enough about our Father to know that, unlike us, He makes no mistakes in His assessments.   He is right in whatever He says about us. 

In the end, it’s about image and identity.  We formulate our identity from different images.  Some of these images we choose, others are given to us by the people around us, but the most important ones are given by God.  We would do well to dwell most on the images our Father gives to us and build our identity on them.   

At The Movies


Published by A Taste of Grace with Bruce Green

I grew up the among the cotton fields, red clay and aerospace industry of north Alabama. My wife and I are blessed with three adult children and five grandchildren.

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