The Lion King: Called for What?
I love Disney. I think I've watched pretty much all of the old cartoons, and I am now one of the many adults who is eagerly going to the cinema to view the remakes. The Lion King has long been one of my favourites, and when I watched it at the cinema yesterday, it didn't disappoint. The visuals, as expected, were stunning, and I was interested to note that the story had barely changed from the 1994 classic. I guess Disney knew they already had a masterpiece with a massive fan base on their hands, so they played it quite safe with the remake.
That being said, the majesty of the amazingly lifelike lions made for gorgeous viewing and the familiar musical score certainly gave me all the feelings I was hoping for. I was drawn in right from the opening bar of the Circle of Life, felt Simba’s anguish as his father fell to his death, laughed with the rest of the audience at the antics of the beloved Timon and Puma, and felt the jubilant triumph as Simba, at last, took his rightful place as king of Pride Rock.
Upon deeper thought about the well-loved tale, you can actually begin to see something unique. One of the overall themes that Disney has always promoted in their stories is the idea of following your dreams and reaching your destiny. A line from the song Cinderella sings is just one example. “If you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”
The Lion King actually seems to be an exception to this idea. In the story, Simba certainly reaches his destiny, but it's not a destiny that he chose for himself. Rather it is one that was chosen for him from the moment he was born. And even though he tries his best to forget about it and to forge his own new path, in the end (spoiler alert) it is only in accepting his pre-chosen destiny that he finds his true self and who he is meant to be.
Simba has to answer the question asked him by Rafiki the baboon. "Who are you?" Rafiki waits somewhat patiently, but eventually, Simba has to answer it. And I wonder if this is something that each one of us has to ask ourselves as well. "Who am I? And what am I supposed to be?”
Have you ever thought that one through? Me, too.
One of my go-to resources to answer this fairly substantial question is the Book labeled the Bible. The Bible seems to have a lot to say about this particular question.
Right in the beginning, it states that people are made in the image of God. I’m not privy to God’s stand on lions. “God created mankind in His image.” (recorded in Genesis 1:27.) The Bible explains that God created mankind in order to share a close relationship with God. That sounds like a good destiny.
However, straightaway that relationship was broken when the first man and woman went their own way, which the Bible titles ‘sinned.’ And ever since then, all humans have been lost, looking for their purpose. And like Simba, they never truly live until they find their way back to their Father and discover their true identity.
So how on earth do these two things fit together? On the one hand, we have failed because of our sin and thus our relationship with God is broken. But on the other hand, we are told that God chose us to be holy before the world was even created and He wants to be in relationship with us. How confounding is this!
And how then did God accomplish this relationship/ identity thing? Paul, the former rabbi, is quoted as saying “Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Messiah even when we were dead in sins--it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
That’s how this works! Our sin, our separation from the Lord, and our wandering away from His purposes… are stopped and we are invited back into a good relationship with Him through Messiah Jesus.
To answer the question, “Who am I?” I think that Peter explains it beautifully. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
What will you do now? Will you continue ignoring God and your destiny, or are you like Simba, going to face the truth and step into your true calling of who you were chosen to be? Don’t wait for a baboon to ask you. I’ll have to do for now.
Want to discuss this? Comment below. We’d love to listen to your ideas. Hakuna Matata.
by Guest Writer, Rebekah B.