Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
I have been excited about seeing Mary Poppins Returns since I saw the first trailer and finally got to see it last week. I give it five stars. It was a fun movie, suited to our modern cinematography and era, reminiscent of the original without being a repeat and enthusiastically acted. The original Mary Poppins is one of the first movies I can remember seeing. Unlike Bambi where mothers die, Fox and the Hound, where friends are separated, The Sound of Music, where Nazis trap children in a cemetery, and Ring of Bright Water, where otters are bloodied with shovels, it was full of color, light and fantasy. Even as an adult, Mary Poppins is still one of my favorite movies. I know all the words by heart, have a costume like one of the characters and even went to a Mary Poppins sing-a-long! I read some criticism of Emily Blunt who plays the “new” Mary Poppins. They said that she was trying too hard to imitate Julie Andrews instead of play the character of Mary Poppins. I disagree. I’ve read all the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers and think that both actors were imitating the book character. While Julie Andrews and Emily Blunt are similar in their characterizations it is not because Blunt imitates Andrews but because they both imitate the original Mary Poppins. It reminds me that as Christians we should not be following each other, but Christ. It is not a question of whether we picket abortion clinics, home school our children, spend every waking moment at a religious institution or serve in the ministry or on the mission field, as some might lead us to believe. It is about following the journey of Christ and making His walk come alive in our lives and in our generation. I entered 2018 overly optimistic. Full of plans to stop eating sugar, to stop shopping, to spent time in quiet and meditation, to be more careful in how I used time and money. I did not take into account changes in my health, the health and living circumstances of my parents, the purchase of a new puppy or my evolving faith. I could easily look at that list of dos and don’ts that I created a year ago and think I failed. Instead, I am going to follow puppy Lark’s initiative as she took the list I have been carrying around for a year (and not following) inside my check ledger and completely shredded it. There is not one page untouched, which will make it hard to recreate our spending when it comes tax time, but offers me great grace. Who knew a dog could be so Christlike? Instead this year, I have one resolution. To follow Christ. I will spend each quarter focusing on the Gospels in detail. I want to know Jesus. Even if it means I might not be in lock step with other believers. Eyes on Christ alone. Everything else should resolve from there.