Part of Your World
There's a song in Disney's The Little Mermaid that has been stuck in my head for a bit. It's one of the most iconic songs in the movie, which is saying something because The Little Mermaid is full of iconic songs.
At this point, you're probably wondering, "Is someone else writing the Devo today?" To which I would reply, "What? Just because I have tattoos and listen to metal music, doesn't mean that I'm one-dimensional!"
It's The Little Mermaid, man. Come on.
Anyway, back to the iconic song, which just happens to be Part of Your World, the scene where Ariel (the Little Mermaid) sings about her longing to go on land, and walk around on two legs, "where the people are."
If you know the movie, now that song is in your head. You're welcome.
There's a line at the very beginning of the song where Ariel is actually speaking before she begins singing.
She's just been berated by her father for always longing to be on the surface world, so she retreats to a cave where she hides all of the artifacts from the surface world that she's gleaned from the seafloor, and she says this:
Maybe he's right.
Maybe there is something the matter with me.
I just don't see how a world that makes such wonderful things could be bad.
What a beautiful and innocent way of seeing the world, am I right?
Ariel sees cast-off items found on the seafloor as beautiful, and wonderful, so she assumes then that the world they came from must be beautiful and wonderful, too.
The audience is in on the secret that most of her treasures are actually junk, and that life on the surface isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
And some of them might also believe that the world isn't actually a very good place at all---that there's something inherently wrong with it, in fact.
But when Ariel sings, she sings of wonder, joy, discovery, and beautiful surprises, and at that moment the viewer is given the chance to sing with her, so to speak--to see their world differently, as inherently good.
It's tempting to cast a jaundiced eye upon the world around us when everything seems out of joint and messed up like it does now.
And it's all too easy to buy into the notion that so many Christians hold about the world always being a broken-down mess that we'll one day be rescued from in dramatic fashion like one of those "Left Behind" movies starring Kurt Cameron.
God created the world good... and beautiful... and there is wonder here all around us if we would only open our eyes to see it.
In the Presbyterian tradition, we have a historic confession of faith called the Westminster Confession, which states that the "chief end" of humankind is to "glorify and enjoy God."
The meaning of "glorify" in the Bible most often has to do with reflection, believe it or not. As in, when human beings are living into their best and truest purpose, we ought to reflect God's glory to one another and to the world around us.
Because we, too, are filled with wonder, beauty, and goodness, despite our efforts to deny them, and drift toward the shadows where we think God's light can't find us. But it always does--no matter how long it takes... even an eternity.
May you look around you with wonder today and take note of all of the ways the glory of God is shining through. May you see beauty, and goodness. May you find the joy that knows no bounds.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.