Thanksgiving was good this year. The food was tasty. There was no drama, at least that I was aware of. We’re a family predominantly of introverts. For this I am thankful.

I decided to take full advantage of the long weekend off and keep as quiet and inactive as possible. No Black Friday shopping for me. For this I am thankful.

Browsing Youtube, I caught the jaw-dropping trailer for Martin Scorsese’s much-anticipated adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence. I immediately felt a stab of guilt. His book is gathering dust on my bookshelf unread. I know I should read it, but to be honest, I’m not looking forward to it. The one word explanation would be “persecution”. That’s what the story is about: the persecution of Portuguese priests in seventeenth-century Japan. Just doesn’t feel like a popcorn movie to me.

I’m probably also avoiding the book because I worry about how I would bear up under persecution. After all, I just stated that I was grateful for family members behaving civilly to one another and for not having to brave the crowds on Friday. It doesn’t look hopeful.

In Silence, Endo writes that, “No matter what the circumstances, no man can completely escape from vanity.”

My vanity is so great, I am worried, should I ever face persecution, I’ll drop the ball. I’ll disappoint God, myself, family and friends, and “the great cloud of witnesses.” I picture the cloud of witnesses looking down and shaking their heads as they watch my performance.

Thankfully, Endo also tells us in Silence that:

“Christ did not die for the good and beautiful. It is easy enough to die for the good and beautiful; the hard thing is to die for the miserable and corrupt.”

We like to see ourselves as the good and beautiful, but in reality, I know–we know–that we are the miserable and corrupt. My vanity and fear condemn me long before I reach the point of persecution. And yet, Romans 8 speaks to the Portuguese priest as much as it speaks to the overstuffed couch potato:

34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Maybe I will go see Silence. Yes, I think I will.