While Barbie and Oppenheimer were this summer’s blockbusters, Sound of Freedom has been the unexpected box-office hit of 2023. It tells the fictionalised story of Tim Ballard, a US agent for Homeland Security tasked with taking down those involved in child pornography. But haunted by the children who are left undiscovered he sets out to rescue a child from Colombian sex-traffickers. By turns heart-breaking, horrifying and hopeful the film depicts a global and expanding trade in human misery.
The film’s title comes from a scene in which a group of children, who one moment were cowering in fear, realise they are free and start singing with joy. It is the moment when hope and love triumph over fear and evil.
This theme of hope overcoming fear and erupting into joy is one that runs as a thread throughout the Bible. Foreseeing the catastrophe about to befall his nation the prophet Isaiah is given insight into a more hopeful future. He writes, ‘Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem’.
No matter how heart-breaking or horrifying our circumstances Jesus’ triumph over death means that hope and joy can never be extinguished.