An Evening of Nostalgia: Part 2-“Remember Who You Are…..”

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Given the fact that I have seen the Lion King so many times…..even memorized it…….it came as a shock last night when I saw certain scenes, and heard certain lines in a completely different way then when I was 12.

The Lion King is a fairly deep movie….with a lot of intricate themes. While it is not an overtly Christian movie…..like say, The Matrix Trilogy ……it does strike me that the story of Simba is one of redemption and anamnesis.

These two major themes are set up by the main crisis of the film: Simba’s overwhelming sense of guilt and shame over Mufasa’s death.

Through Scar’s emotional manipulation, the young cub comes to view himself as a horrible person.

If developmental psychology has taught us anything, it’s that a child around Simba’s age would be highly susceptible to that kind of thinking…especially in their quest for acceptance within the family unit and by others.

This skewed sense-of-self, and Simba’s earnest desire to forget his identity as the crown-prince of Pride Rock affects the way he grows up and perceives himself.

Don’t believe me???..Check out his thoughts, body language and facial expressions while at the river with Nala (1:05)

Simba’s guilt is so pervasive, that he feels unworthy of being loved and embraced. Up until now, he has been able to forget himself, and is further convinced that the problems of the world don’t have to involve him. He acknowledges that the past can’t be changed…..but he doesn’t think there is anything beyond it…or at least anything worth holding on to….

Hakuna Matata, right????

Enter Rafiki. Through this encounter, Simba learns that–as much as he may try to escape it–the past is a part of his being…..and he must remember the way in which it has shaped him….otherwise the guilt will never go away……

What struck me the most though is Mufasa’s message: Look inside yourself…..You are more than what you have become….Remember who you are! You are my son and the one true king. Remember who you are! Remember……Remember…..Remember…..

In Christian understanding…..anamnesis…..the act of remembering……is never a one way street…..It not only entails who God is….what He has done and how He has shaped us and made us….but remembering who we are .

While we still have the propensity to sin and make mistakes…..we are more than what we have become….While the past may haunt us and be filled with horrible things, they are not the whole of who we are.

Unlike Simba, we are not the True King… BUT we do bear his image. We–like Christ–are called to be priest, prophet and yes… even kings and queens :D.

The notion of faith bringing us a crown of glory is not foreign to the Christian tradition. Check out Rev 4:10 or the words of Emily Dickinson writing in the Puritan miluex of the 19th century:

Too little could I care for Pearls
Who own the ample sea—
Or Brooches—when the Emperor—
With Rubies—pelteth me—

Or Gold—who am the Prince of Mines—
Or Diamonds—when have I
A Diadem to fit a Dome—
Continual upon me—

In the end, the Lion King comes to accept that the past is an integral part of who he is. While he is not defined by it….and while it still causes him intense pain…there is something beyond it. We can learn from our past……and add on to it….finding our way back home…..and claiming our rightful place in life.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again……I ❤ this movie! Thanks be to God for movies that can make us feel like children again and that can still speak to us even after 17 years! 🙂 +

Evening Prayer: Feb. 3rd

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Psalm: 74
Gospel: Mark 8:27-9:1
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Instructions to the Cathecumenate

image courtesy of breadsite.org

Your foes have roared within your holy place;
they set up their emblems there.
At the upper entrance they hacked
the wooden trellis with axes.*
And then, with hatchets and hammers,
they smashed all its carved work.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
they desecrated the dwelling-place of your name,
bringing it to the ground.
They said to themselves, ‘We will utterly subdue them’;
they burned all the meeting-places of God in the land. (Psalm 74:4-8)

One thing that strikes me in particular with this Psalm is that it is written during a time of darkness…..when all the sacred vessels and places in Judea have been pulled down, and the Jewish people have nothing tangible to hold on to.

As I sit here pondering…..I wonder what would happen to us if all our churches were burned and we left to our own devices….What would the reaction be???

Sadness and devastation for sure :(…but that being said…the Jewish identity managed to survive. They were able to distinguish themselves by strict observance of dietary laws and customs.

What would our distinguishing marks as Christians be??? I wonder…….. +

 

Evening Prayer: 1st Sun. after Epiphany

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I couldn’t find an online copy of tonight’s patristic reading since virtually all the regular sites are observing the feast of the Baptism today…Sorry! 😦 Speaking of which, I will be observing Jesus’ baptism on Jan. 16th :))

Psalms: 131, 132
Gospel: John 5:1-15

[The Pharisees] asked [the man who had been healed], ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Take it up and walk”?’ Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in* the crowd that was there (John 5:12-13)

The theme of the healed not knowing the identity of Jesus is a recurring motif in John’s Gospel…..the steward does not know who changes the water into wine at the wedding in Cana….the Samaritan woman does not know whom she meets at the well in chapter 4…..this man is unsure of the man who told him to get up and walk…..the woman caught in adultery (chapter eight) and the man born blind (chapter 9) finds himself saved by a complete stranger.

In fact, the Gospel is predicated on the reader (and the characters in the narrative) coming to understand who Jesus really is. He is not simply another prophet…but the eternal logos who is one with the Father.

I find this an interesting point of contemplation during the Epiphany season…..when we–as the liturgical name suggests– consciously look for the ways that God is made manifest in our lives.

I wonder…..how many times does God stand in our midst, and we are left totally clueless????

It doesn’t take away from the fact that the LORD heals us and makes us whole…..but there may be times when we don’t recognize it fully…….I’m reminded of a quote I once heard used by the Chaplain at the college….

Coincidence is simply God’s way of remaining anonymous :D+

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