We’ve just returned from the theater, only to verify once more – the book is always better than the movie. It sounds like such a great homeschool policy – “We’ll only go see the movie if we read the book together!” Yet every time – the movie ends up falling flat. It just doesn’t stand a chance.
Pushing that aside for a moment, I do love the book and so much of the imagery and themes througout: Light fighting back the darkness. Strength discovered in weakness. You cannot serve two masters. Hope even in places where we’ve made mistakes. There are even direct quotes from scripture used imaginatively throughout.
L’Engle presents a Universe much larger than we usually envision, and the invitation for each of us to become warriors on behalf of light. This doesn’t mean strapping on our weapons, and polishing our armor – it means offering ourselves in places and situations where we aren’t assured of the outcome. It means loving the other, even when there’s no visible sign that such sacrificial love will be received well.
One of my favorite scenes is toward the end, as the lead character realizes she has been self-centered in her relationship with her Father:
“I’m – I’m sorry, Father…(tears came to her eyes, their hands together)..I wanted you to do it all for me. I wanted everything to be all easy and simple…So I tried to pretend that it was all your fault…because I was scared, and I didn’t want to have to do anything myself–“
“But I wanted to do it for you,” Mr.Murry said. “That’s what every parent wants.” He looked into her dark, frightened eyes….
“No.” Mrs Whatsit’s voice was sterner than Meg had ever heard it. “You are going to allow Meg the privilege of accepting this danger. You are a wise man, Mr.Murry. You are going to let her go.”
So many layers to this.
We love our children, and want great things for them. But we must remember, for them to grow and develop they must be allowed to experience the mystery of holding Gods’ hand into the unknown. As John Ortberg has written, “Persons of excellent will, judgment and character are formed by having to make their own decisions.” (Focus on the Family, April/May 2018)
We see this same love as God invites humanity with free will to respond to a crucified Messiah, an image of self-sacrificing Love that doesn’t force, demand, or overthrow. An infinitely compelling revelation of a path we’re invited to follow, not with the promise that all will go well – but with the promise that this is the path of New Creation Love. This is the way of proclaming Jesus as Lord. This is the way of light breaking forth into darkness.
So what is the wrinkle? If we want to invite our children to step forward into a faith-filled unknown – we must be prepared to respond to their obvious questions. “Really mom/dad? You’re doing this?” Where are we following Jesus into areas of unknown? Where are we trusting Him to do something, without which we would sink into the waves of a stormy sea? Where are we experiencing this as a home/family?
This isn’t meant to be intimidating, but encouraging/inviting. This isn’t saying every family should sell all things, move into a tiny home in the bad part of town, or other side of the world. This is simply saying – great distances can be traveled by small and simple acts of sacrificial love. Great rifts can be overcome by a humble dependence on a Love that reflects the brightest light that has ever shown.
This is how Christ began the ultimate victory. This is how we continue to proclaim & establish it, empowered by His Spirit even now. Not by our own power to Love, but as we are transformed by His…