I Hope We Win: The Easter Story As Told By “The Princess Bride”
There’s this scene in the Princess Bride where Buttercup, our damsel in distress if you will, is set to marry another, the evil Prince Humperdink. You see, for those who have not seen the movie, (shame on you) Buttercup is supposed to marry Westley, her one true love. Long story short: Westley is thought to be dead after leaving Buttercup to start a life for them across the sea. In this time, Prince Humperdink finds Buttercup and plans to marry her, and since she has no reason to live because her true love is dead, she gives in. But Westley is not dead, and he and Buttercup are eventually reunited. Humperdink lies to Buttercup telling her that he will find Westley so they can be reunited, by sending his four fastest ships in each direction. Westley is really in Humperdink’s prison, and the following conversation happens:
Humperdink: Aaaaah, my dulcet darling. Tonight, we marry. Tomorrow morning your men will escort us to Florin channel, where every ship in my armada waits to accompany us on our honeymoon.
Buttercup: Every ship but your four fastest, you mean. Every ship but the four you sent.
Humperdink: Yes. Yes, of course. Naturally not those four.
Buttercup: You never sent the ships. Don’t bother lying. Doesn’t matter. Westley will come for me anyway.
Humperdink: You’re a silly girl.
Buttercup: Yes, I am a silly girl, for not having seen sooner that you are nothing but a coward with a heart full of fear.
Humperdink: I would not say such things if I were you.
Buttercup: Why not? You can’t hurt me. Westley and I joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds. And you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords. And when I say you are a coward, that is only because you are the slimiest weakling ever to crawl the earth.
Humperdink: I would not say such things if I were you!
Humperdink then goes to the prison where he is keeping Westley and kills him:
Humperdink: (standing over Westley) You truly love each other, and so you might have been truly happy. Not one couple in a century has that chance, no matter what the story books say. So I think no man in a century will suffer as greatly as you will…
And then he kills him. His screams are heard throughout the countryside, his wails pierce the ears of all those around.
Later, at the wedding of Buttercup and Humperdink:
Humperdink: You don’t seem excited my little muffet.
Buttercup: Should I be?
Humperdink: Brides often are I’m told.
Buttercup: I do not marry tonight. My Westley will save me.
…fighting, yelling, and panic noises can be heard from outside the chapel…
Buttercup: Here comes my Westley now.
Humperdink: Your Westley is dead. I killed him myself.
Buttercup: Then why is there fear behind your eyes?
Westley is alive, and he rescues his bride and off in to the sunset they ride. It is much more dramatic than that, but I will let you experience that for yourself.
I realized that this story, the story of my favorite movie, is very similar to the story of Christ and Easter. You and I will read for the part of Buttercup, the devil will read the part of Humperdink, and Christ the part of Westley.
Devil: lies, lies, deceit, lies.
Me: You are nothing but a coward, with a heart full of fear.
Devil: You and I are to be married tonight.
Me: You may have my body at this particular moment in time, but you do not have my heart. You may have my attention right now, but my love goes to the one that is coming for me.
The devil kills Christ, He suffers, He dies, and darkness is brought on over the countryside. His screams call out the darkness.
Devil: Your Savior is dead. I killed Him myself.
Me: Then why is there fear behind your eyes?
Christ is resurrected, the tomb is empty, and He meets us at the altar. Christ becomes sin, He becomes the very thing that got us into this mess in the first place, He becomes what put us on the altar with the wrong groom. We believed the rumors that He was dead and yet He still came for us. And then, He actually dies…and He still comes for us anyway.
I’ve found myself playing the part of Buttercup quite a lot in my life. It seems as though it doesn’t take long for me to find myself dining with the enemy, being courted by sin with extravagance and nonsense, and all I remember are rumors of the Jesus that actually holds my heart. In the movie, it takes a hostage situation sort of thing for Buttercup to remember Westley (as some time had passed since his leaving her and the courtship with Humperdink) and once she realized whose eyes she was gazing into, she fell all over again. I love when Buttercup begins to combat Humperdink by telling him he is full of it, because, in true devil fashion, all he has to say is that he wishes she wouldn’t say such things. When we catch him in his lies, all he can do is shoot back simple retort that does not match the truth he knows.
When the devil thinks he has won, he begins to drag us down the isle to our wedding. He has killed Christ, but me must continue to believe that the ruckus and fighting coming from the outside of the chapel is indeed our Christ.
The fear behind Satan’s eyes will tell the story.
Friends, family, fellow Buttercups…the tomb is empty, our Savior is coming, He is alive.