The motion picture, City of Ember, provides an interesting look at the end of the world. With civilization on the brink of destruction, scientists construct an underground city named Ember to ensure the survival of the human race. To make the citizens of the city safer, they decide the residents must not be told about the outside world. The secret of the builders is placed inside a box designed to remain locked for 200 years. The box is entrusted to Ember’s mayor with instructions to pass it on to the next person. The hope was that when it was safe to return to the surface, the people of Ember would have the instructions they needed.
With years remaining before the secret was to be revealed, the connection to the builder’s plans was lost. The instructions were stuffed in a closet and forgotten. When the builder’s instruction’s disappeared, the truth about Ember was also lost. The people of the city grew complacent. As a result many people stopped caring. They saw their city wearing out, but took it in stride. Political corruption, and a “who cares” attitude became the rule. Though people tried to find an escape, most people agreed with the vegetable vendor who said why worry about the outside world, there was plenty to do in Ember.
Two young resident of Ember become the impetus for changing the city’s troubled future. Lina MayFleet discovers the box with the Builder’s Instructions, and shares the information with her, Doon Harrow. Though the city officials try to arrest them, Lina and Doon become the only hope for a dying city.
OPTION 1: Play scene from City of Ember, Scene 39:41 to 41:57, and make application.
OPTION 2: Describe scene and make application.
Lina is sitting down to dinner with her mother and sister. Lina’s mother asks if she knows her part for the upcoming holiday called the Great day of Singing. Enthusiastically, Lina’s mother says, “Oh, it lifts all of our hearts. How lucky we are.”
Unmoved by her mother’s platitudes, Lina responds, “I don’t feel very lucky lately.”
Her mother tries to reassure her, adding, “There’s nothing to worry about.” Lina responds, “The blackouts worry everybody.” Her mother responds with another platitude. “Help is coming.”
Lina looks up and asks, “Help?” Her mother nods, “Who built our city dear?” Unsure of what to answer Lina stammers, “The Builders?”
“That’s right,” her mother assures her. “And the builders will come again and show us the way.” As if timed with those words, the lights flash and a strange metallic groan is heard in the distant. Lina nods, but says nothing. After dinner, she goes to her room, and gets the box containing the words of the builders. Remembering her grandmother who helped find the chest, Lina whispers. Whatever it is Granny. I’ll figure it out. I promise.” She opens the box and begins to piece together the fragments of paper containing the instructions. Looking over the paper, Lina decides to show it to her friend Doon, because he is also concerned about Ember and works in the city’s piping. Dunn says, “It says pipeworks.” Lina agrees, “That’s why I brought it to you.” Doon looks at the paper and says, “This printing, you know what it reminds me of…” His voice trails off, then grabbing his jacket he says, “Come on, I want to show you something.”
Doon takes Lina to the Mayor’s office. Though they are not allowed, Doon is starting to see a connection. While he picks the lock, Lina asks, “What are we doing here?” Doon says, “The builders left us this book. I read about it in history.” He takes out the sacred book and urges Lina, “Come on, open it up.” She hesitates, “No one but the mayor is supposed to.” Doon flips the book around and opens it, revealing a typeset page. Doon and Lina bend over for a good look as Lina takes a scrap of paper from her pocket, then exclaims, “The builders wrote these instructions! Its exactly the same.” The sound of keys in the lock startles them and they quickly leave before they are discovered.
Once out of danger, Lina says, “Come on there’s something I have to show you.” She shows Doon the papers from the box. “What do you think?” she asks. “I think it’s instructions.” Doon starts reading while Lina continues. “What I don’t understand is why would they have it in a circle? I mean I know it…” Doon interrupts her with his own observation. “Add a ‘t.’” Lina looks at him and asks, “What?” Doon points at the last line of the instructions. Though faded, you can see the letters, “Exi.’ “ E X I T, Exit,” he says. Looking at Lina, Doon asks the question no one has asked in years.
“What if there’s an exit from Ember?” Though many years late, these young people have discovered the builder’s purpose for their lives and everyone living in Ember.
--City of Ember, 2008 Walden Media LLC, Chapter 12, Help will come, 39:47 to 41:58. Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell
APPLICATION: There is an interesting parallel to the City of Ember and our world. God’s plan and purpose for our lives is often overlooked and forgotten. We see our world falling apart at every turn. Apathy, corruption, and distrust are everywhere. God’s Word offers the only hope for the people in this world. Living by God’s plan and discovering His purpose for our lives is the only way to overcome and change the world.
The first step is choosing to accept the Lord Jesus, the Word of the Master made flesh.
1 John 1:1-2 GNB We write to you about the Word of life, which has existed from the very beginning. We have heard it, and we have seen it with our eyes; yes, we have seen it, and our hands have touched it. When this life became visible, we saw it; so we speak of it and tell you about the eternal life which was with the Father and was made known to us.