Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ephesians Meets the Robinsons (for the Husband)

I love the theology found in contemporary cartoons and animated classics. There is something enchanting and metaphorical about animated tales that often gets the point across without stepping through the boundaries of our egos i.e. we can grasp the point and then move the principle into life without a lot of offence being taken.

Meet the Robinsons (2007) is no exception; in fact, it feeds off the theology of ‘keep moving forward’ in hope. The end game seems to be if we keep moving forward in life and don’t get sidetracked, good things inevitably happen. A short, but productive sidetrack:

In the ‘River from the Temple’ passage in Ezekiel 47, recall the person being led by a man into the water; water that got deeper and deeper. The river is seen as a source of flourishing life when the thriving trees and fish are considered. It is only later that the person, presumably Ezekiel himself, is also shown the dead tributaries--the swamps and marshes where there is no life.[1] This is what happens also to our thinking when we don’t continue moving forward with God in faith. We get bogged down in the swamps and marshes of our own negative thinking and feelings that is devoid of God.

The climax of Meet the Robinsons for me was when Franny approaches Lewis (remembering they are to be wife and husband in the future) and suggests to him that--for his own benefit, and theirs mutually--that she’s always right, “Even when I’m wrong, I’m right,” she exclaims. Lewis’ friend Cornelius agrees, saying, “She’s right. I would just go with it if I were you...”

As the movie plays out, we then note that the crunch comes for Lewis; he finds himself in a position to challenge Franny back in the past, but remembers and heeds the advice, and that’s what starts them going out. His faith to implement the advice he received was justified.

There’s a deeper theological metaphor here I think--many of them possibly. And it cuts to the heart of marriage and being a husband. I’d think of it this way:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”
–Ephesians 5:25 (TNIV).

As God issues the church charge over life (and salvation) on earth via his grace, we husbands must discharge grace through to our wives. We sacrifice ourselves and our wants and needs if necessary so our wives might be supremely loved; just as Christ loves the church. This is a tall order, I know, but it’s something to aspire to and achieve as much as possible.

Now, the church must fully respect Christ, just like the wife must fully respect her husband. (I have substituted the word “submit” for “respect.”)[2]

We must consider that even when we feel our wives could be wrong, for the purposes of loving them, they’re right. Love is entirely respectful. When we think of our wives being right when they might be wrong, it’s not a business of, ‘Yes, dear, here we go again...’ It’s a case of truly believing what we’re about because we must, at first, love our wives. This is the grace of love we’d want extended to ourselves. Husbands, are we not to love our wives as we do ourselves?

When our wives are loved and they have what they want, it’s right because that is what we’d want. That is to say, we are loving our wives as we do our own bodies[3] when we are cognisant of, and accommodating to, their needs.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] See Ezekiel 47:11.
[2] See also Ephesians 5:33.
[3] See Ephesians 5:28-29.

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