“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 0)
My favourite film is Mary Poppins, the first film I ever saw (1965). I was apprehensive that Disney had made a sequel, worried that the simple story would be changed to satisfy a generation 50 years later who expect lots of more sophisticated visual and sound effects. Earlier this week, I finally watched Mary Poppins Returns.
I was relieved to see the familiar setting of 17 Cherry Tree Lane, that Mary Poppins still glides up the staircase, her umbrella still talks, the lamp lighters (nee chimneysweeps) dance with uncanny precision, and we hear the same joke about the man with a wooden leg.
The film characters have aged a generation, but Mary Poppins has not aged at all. Her ambition is also unchanged – to save us (represented by Mr Banks) from becoming so wrapped up in our own agenda that we ignore other people.
The film setting has moved on in time, but we, the characters, still need guidance regarding our behaviours.
In the last 2000 years ago, science has spurred industrial, technology and health revolutions which have made life on earth so much easier. The earthly setting for our real lives is substantially different. But what was familiar about our behaviours in the past has hardly changed. We still prioritise our welfare at the expense of others, choose to highlight our differences more than our similarities, and reject the suggestion that such selfish behaviours might have long term consequences.
Fortunately, Jesus hasn’t changed since his earlier manifestation on earth. His love remains unswerving, and his desire to save us remains unchanged.
But unlike Mary Poppins, who arrives to help out and then flies away, Jesus responds when invited and his Holy Spirit stays with us always. That’s why we don’t need to wait for a sequel – the earlier story is still running.
Dear Lord Jesus,
I don’t need to wait to meet you.
Come into my life today, be with me forever.