Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saving Us

Many decades before DVD or VCR, we had albums to help us remember movies.  My sister and I listened to and memorized every word from the Mary Poppins album.  Our favorites were "The Nanny Song," and of course, "Spoon Full of Sugar." With popping into pictures, snapping fingers to clean, and singing about birds, what's not to love about Mary Poppins?  Well, Mr. Banks.  I never liked his role in the movie.  The magically cheerful nanny played by the talented Julie Andrews certainly didn't need a spoil sport.  The point of the movie was completely lost on me.

Saving Mr. Banks, the recent movie of Walt Disney and the writer of the Mary Poppins' books, tells the not so cheerful back story of the creative but lost and dysfunctional Travers Goff, a banker, and his daughter Helen and reminds us that Mary didn't pop in to save the children; she popped in to save their father. Mr. Banks, a proud gentleman leading a good life, has everything he needs; in fact,
 I'm the lord of my castle
The sov'reign, the liege!
Ah! Lordly is the life I lead!

Mr. Banks doesn't have much time for his kids, his subjects, but one Spring morning, Mary pops in and brings a spoon full of sugar, leaving the orderly Mr. Banks unsettled, and the words of Bert the chimney sweep cleverly help Mr. Banks see the empty life he actually leads.
You've got to grind, grind, grind
At that grindstone

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. Matthew 18:11

When we don't understand something, like computer language, we feel unsettled.  We're lost.  We need to undertand.  When we drive for miles and hours in the wrong direction, which is my usual story, and finally realize it, we're afraid.  We're lost.  We must turn around and find our way.  Without Mary's Spring pop in making Mr. Banks feel unsettled, he would've continued being lost in his lordly life, never finding his way.

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25
1987, Germany -Heidleburg Castle

Jesus saves me from myself and the destruction I create.  He's saving me from lording over my castle, my world,  by own rules as if I created it myself.   Do I really need to "lose my life?" Yes.  The lordly life I lead is prideful and doesn't provide fulfillment.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17

But this is reality, and saving me required so much more than a spoon full of sugar. I recently went to a dinner honoring dozens of individuals who gave blood to save lives. Blood is life.  My old self died with Christ on the cross.  His blood saved me.  Without His blood, I'm lost, unsettled and afraid.  Christ gives me a new life worth living.  Several beautifully written songs from Palm Sunday contained lines that offered a picture of a saved life by His blood.

It soothes my doubt and calms my fears, And it dries all my tears;
The blood that gives me strength from day to day.

What a sacrifice that saved my life.
Savior Son, Holy One, slain so I can live.

I am His and His alone;
This life is not my own,
My Jesus raised me from the grave.

He raised me from the grave I dug by my sins.  He sacrificed His life and shed His blood for me to be His alone, to be guided by His Spirit.  But first, I must be unsettled and fear lording my own life.  What about the many times I don't care about anyone but myself and continue grinding at the grindstone and lording over the castle? I condemn myself with the consequences, but Jesus offers mercy and forgiveness. Jesus calms and comforts and gives me strength every day.  Saving US on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice by Someone who loves us and wants our lives to be worth living.