Moana was a fantastic movie for so many reasons. The chicken made us laugh. The grandma was one we all wish we had. The usual motif about “someone realizing there was something mystically special about themselves all along” – is something many of us hope to discover.
There are roots in there story with amazing truths, if we will notice.
There is a girl who is taught her entire life, that her value comes from her ability to maintain what has always happened. She is expected to make wise decisions, to rule well, and to navigate the difficulties of island life. That someday she will place her stone on the highest mountain, atop the stones of previous leaders, making her contribution the highest point on their island. But within her stirs a discontent. A “holy” stirring that not only she, but her people, were created to do more than what they’d done yesterday. That perhaps even, looking far back in their history, they might find stories of a completely different existence altogether. They were not a people meant to thrive on how well they could perpetuate status quo. They were wired to thrive on creative discovery, and to craft stories of stepping out into the unknowns, in faith that something greater than themselves held their fate and future. That actually, their fate depended on complete change in what was being done. They were facing struggles no resources could be found to solve. The status quo way of maintaining routine was slowly losing its ability to provide life.
So she set out to discover what else could be done. Sacrificially, she launched a new initiative toward becoming vulnerable – not just for her own sake but for a people who were temporarily without any idea of what might happen next. Collectively, they looked toward tomorrow with hesitancy, but hopeful faith for what could be.
It turned out to be exactly what was needed. As she returned to share this new way of life she’d discovered, it was immediately embraced by the people as being their actual story. No longer were they island people, who valued being able to efficiently stay as they were. Connecting to their ancient roots, they were a people “on the move”. Entrusting themselves to something larger, they collectively were reidentified as New Creations. There is a brief scene where we simply see a shell placed on a stack of rocks. No longer would success be measured by the highest point on an island that was ultimately no source of life.
From now on – they’d become a people who’s measurement for Life had been altogether transformed.
The wisdom here offers us a moment to contemplate as leaders and servants in the Kindgom of God. Are we willing to let go of our chance to place a stone, if it enables others to actually be transformed toward a New Life altogether? Can we trust God to guide us as we launch out together toward a New Land?
There is, after all, a world out there already placing stones upon stones – waiting for followers of Jesus to show them a better way…