Lent is about glory. Or in movie terms, the happy ending.
Yes, part of Lent is solemn, contemplative, sorrowful. This is the time when we consider sacrifice and death. But part of Lent is also celebratory! We mourn for Good Friday, but we celebrate the happy ending of Easter Sunday!
Jesus has won. Death has been defeated!
Where, O death, is yourvictory? Where, O death, is yoursting?” (I Corinthians 15:55)
We mourn the death but celebrate the glory.
But (Jesus) emptiedhimself by takingon the formof a slave, bylooking likeother men, andby sharinginhuman nature. He humbledhimself, by becomingobedientto the pointof death – even death on a cross! As a resultGodexaltedhim andgavehimthe name that is aboveeveryname,so thatatthe nameof Jesus everykneewill bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth –andeverytongueconfess thatJesusChristis Lord tothe gloryof Godthe Father. (Philippians 2:7-11)
Everything Jesus did, he did for the Father’s glory.
Lent is about identity. Like Jesus, the choices and sacrifices we make tend to reveal our true identity. This is doubly true in Wreck-it Ralph!
The Good Bad Guy?
Yea, Ralph is the bad guy in Fix-it Felix, Jr. But by his actions – by his sacrifice – Ralph shows himself to truly be the hero!
His position did not define him, his choices and sacrifice did.
You’ve seen this, I’m sure.
Leaders lead. Just because someone has the word leader in their title or position does not make them a leader. Conversely, we all know people who lead well, even without position or title.
The same is true for pastors, right? Just because someone is a pastor doesn’t mean they are a pastor or a shepherd. At the same time, you probably know someone who is a true pastor – a real shepherd – even though they are not one by trade or title.
The same goes for Ralph. He is the hero – the savior – because of what he did, not because of who he is.
The Real Princess
One of my favorite parts of Wreck-it Ralph is when we find out that Vanellope is really a princess!
(Watch before you continue.)
As I’ve written before, Sugar Rush is under the control of a counterfeit king, King Candy. Sugar Rush is “fallen.” King Candy has reprogrammed Sugar Rush so that no one knows how it used to be or how it should be.
When Vanellope crosses the finish line, something miraculous – something biblical – happens; Sugar Rush is restored and transformed! The curse is lifted and Sugar Rush is restored to its original creation. When this happens we find out that Vanellope is really a princess, the daughter of the true king!
Ralph’s sacrifice saved Vanellope and revealed to her her true identity. Vanellope, the sweet little “glitch,” is really the daughter of the true king!
We are the sweet little “glitches” that, when we trust Jesus, become children of the true King!
Foryou didnotreceivethe spiritof slaveryleadingagaintofear, butyou receivedthe Spiritof adoption, bywhom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirithimselfbears witness to ourspiritthatwe areGod’schildren. Andifchildren, thenheirs(namely, heirsof Godand also fellow heirswith Christ) — Romans 8:15-17
Because Jesus emptied and humbled himself to the point of death on the cross – and rose again! – we can be adopted into God’s family!
Because of that sacrifice, we know our true identity – we are God’s adopted children!
Lent is about our adoption into God’s family. Lent is about our true identity.
Today, take the time to consider that if you have trusted in Jesus, you are one of God’s kids and a fellow heir with his only begotten son, Jesus.
If you have not yet trusted Jesus, then today is the day!
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! (Acts 16:31)
Jesus loves you.
If you have questions about Jesus, the faith, or Lent, please reach out to me.
King Candy, now the “Lord of the Flies” bug-like creature, has Ralph high above Candy Crush. Vanellope, who cannot leave the game, is about to die at the hands claws of the demon-like bugs from the game Hero’s Duty.
Ralph knows that the bugs are drawn to light, that if he can crash the Mentos into the Coke River, then he can erupt the volcano and draw the bugs away from Vanellope.
The catch, however, is that he would have to sacrifice himself. And that is what he does.
Ralph breaks free of King Candy and falls to (what he thinks will be) his death. On the way down he crashes through the Mentos, igniting the Mentos/Coke volcano.
This is exactly the attitude that Jesus has in Philippians 2.
Instead of being motivated by selfish ambitionorvanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treatone anotheras more importantthan yourself. Eachof you should be concernednotonlyabout your own interests, butabout the interests of othersas well.You should havethe sameattitudetowardone anotherthat ChristJesushad,whothough he existedinthe formof Goddid notregardequalitywith God as something to begrasped, butemptiedhimself by takingon the formof a slave,bylooking likeother men,andby sharinginhuman nature.He humbledhimself, by becomingobedientto the pointof death – even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:3-8)
Ralph, like Jesus, thought of others – specifically Vanellope – as more important than himself.
Ralph, like Jesus, emptied himself of his own desire – to go home a hero – and became a servant, serving Vanellope to the point of death.
(Yea, I know he didn’t die, but he thought he was going to die. He was willing to die and chose to sacrifice himself thinking he would die.)
This is how Jesus loves you.
Jesus emptied and humbled himself for you.
ButGoddemonstrateshis ownloveforus, in thatwhilewe werestillsinners, Christdiedforus. (Romans 5:8)
Today, instead of thinking of what you need to sacrifice, thank God – thank Jesus – for what he did for you!
Ralph wanted something that we all want; Ralph wanted friends, Ralph wanted community. Ralph, the bad guy of the video game Fix-it Felix, Jr, wanted to be a part of the community. He simply wanted to be friends with Felix and the others.
When Ralph crashed an anniversary party, he found out that he would only be invited if he was a hero, if he won a medal. The problem was, there was no way to win a medal in his game. To win a medal, Ralph had to “go Turbo;” that meant he had to leave Fix-it Felix, Jr and enter a different game.
In the world of Wreck-it Ralph, “going Turbo” was a very bad thing.
And now Ralph had a choice to make; would he stay in his game or would he “go Turbo” to try to win a medal?
In the context of this movie, it is easy to see that the characters in Fix-it Felix, Jr are in the wrong. What Ralph wants is a very good thing. We are all made to live in a community.
First, we are made in the image of God and God lives in a community.
Then Godsaid, “Let us makehumankindin our image, after our likeness...” (Genesis 1:26)
Before we were even a thing, God lived in a community. God – in the Trinity – lives in a community. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – the holy three-in-one – live in a perfect community. A perfect mix of unity, equality, and submission.
And we were made in his image. It is good for us to live in a community.
Ralph’s desire – his ambition – was a good ambition. Regardless, Ralph still needed to choose between his desire – community – and something greater. That something greater was Vanellope.
Ralph wanted the medal so he could join the Fix-it Felix, Jr community. After he met Vanellope, he had to choose between his own desire and her’s.
He wanted to take the medal back so that he could join the Fix-it Felix, Jr community.
She wants to enter – and win – a race.
What did Jesus want?
So what did Jesus want? What did Jesus give up? I don’t know, to be honest.
But (Jesus) emptiedhimself by takingon the formof a slave,bylooking likeother men,andby sharinginhuman nature.He humbledhimself, by becomingobedientto the pointof death – even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:7-8)
We know that he emptied himself and took the form of a slave. Yea, I don’t know everything that this means, but it sounds to me that he gave up being the master. Jesus gave up being in charge to being a slave.
We also know that he humbled himself. The creator God, the God that created even life, humbled himself to the point of death. The Lord – the God of Israel – humbled himself to the point of death.
Jesus gave up a lot.
What do you want?
So what do you want? What are you in the middle of choosing between?
This Reel Parable has major spoilers, and I mean major. Major like “did you know Old Yeller dies?” major. This movie bible study assumes that you have seen Wreck-it Ralph or don’t care if we spoil it for you. We warned you…
It’s no secret that I love Wreck-it Ralph. The way that it shows us what the resurrection looks like is one big reason why! Not only do we get to the a “new heaven and a new earth,” but we also get to see a resurrected/glorified body AND our true identity!
Don’t give up the race. And don’t give up on your community.
But wait, there’s more!
A New Heaven and a New Earth
By finishing the race – by crossing the finish line – the world of Sugar Rush is reset. The corrupt and counterfeit world, ruled by the counterfeit king, was made new!
Sugar Rush was made right. The old went away. The new came.
The corrupted (hacked by King Candy) world of Sugar Rush was made new and restored back to its original creation!
The fallen world of Sugar Rush was made new and restored back to its original creation!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth… (Revelations 21:1a)
Forlook, I am ready to create newheavensand a newearth! The formerones will not be remembered; no one will thinkabout them anymore. (Isaiah 65:17)
While waiting forandhastening the comingof the dayof God? Because ofthis day, the heavenswill beburned upand dissolve, andthe celestial bodies will melt awayin a blaze! But, according tohispromise, we are waiting for newheavensanda newearth, inwhich righteousnesstruly resides. (2 Peter 3:12-13)
We know our “end” is not really the end, but a new beginning. Someday this painful, hurtful, vengeful world will be made new, just like Sugar Rush!
Not only was Sugar Rush made new, but so was Vanellope!
The once glitchy “mistake,” the perishable little girl could not leave the game because she would die, was raised imperishable!
It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. (I Corinthians 15:42)
So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come! (II Corinthians 5:17)
Don’t miss the story here.
Ralph offers himself as a sacrifice to save not just Vanellope, but all of Sugar Rush.
Because of his sacrifice Vanellope able to finish the race and cross the finish line!
The game – the world of Sugar Rush – is made new and restored to its perfect and original creation.
Vanellope, too, is made new and raised up in her new and perfected body!
But wait, there is still even more!
Not only is Vanellope made new, but her *true* identify is revealed.
Vanellope, this glitchy nobody, is actually Princess Vanellope. Yeah, Princess. So, yeah, she is the daughter of the one true king!
The same is true for Christians!
Butwhenthe appropriatetime had come, Godsent outhisSon, bornofa woman, bornunderthe law, toredeemthose who were underthe law, so thatwe may be adoptedas sons with full rights. Andbecauseyou aresons, Godsentthe Spiritof hisSonintoourhearts, who calls “Abba! Father!” Soyou areno longera slavebuta son, andifyou are a son, thenyou are also an heirthroughGod. (Galatians 4:4-7)
Forallwho are ledby the Spiritof Godare the sonsof God. Foryou didnotreceivethe spiritof slaveryleadingagaintofear, butyou receivedthe Spiritof adoption, bywhom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirithimselfbears witness to ourspiritthatwe areGod’schildren. Andifchildren, thenheirs(namely, heirsof Godand also fellow heirswith Christ). (Romans 8:14-17a)
Yes, as Christians we are sons and daughters of the one true King! We are fellow heirs with Jesus Christ himself!
Kids love a good story. And you know what? They should!
Even God likes stories.
When God chose to reveal Himself to us in the Bible He did it with story. A huge chunk of the Bible is story (narrative). Jesus also loved story. Specifically, Jesus often taught and preached with stories, we call them parables. (Hence the name of this site, Reel Parables!) There is something about a good story that we just get. That is why using movies to share God’s story is such a good idea. We love stories and they often teach us about God and His story. So, without further ado, here are the best three movies for sharing God’s story with younger kids.
Frozen tells us the gospel story. And is a great way to share that good news with kids!
Also, this past Lent we looked at Disney’s Frozen in the context of being emptied and humbled (Philippians 2). We went a bit deeper than usual, but this is a great complimentary read for the parents, teachers, and pastors:
Much like with Frozen, Wreck-it Ralph shows us the gospel story. There is a fallen world with a fake ruler. There is an outside savior (Ralph) who is willing to sacrifice himself to save Sugar Rush. There is the restoration – the resurrection – of the world (of Sugar Rush), specifically with Vanellope, who ends up being a Princess – the daughter of the REAL king. Just like those of us who are Christians, we’ve been adopted into God’s family and are fellow heirs with Christ!