I know our main inspiration comes from the Spirit of God illuminating the Scriptures. But sometimes, God shows us pictures of his gracious nature in other things, like books we read, people we meet, even movies we watch. It’s almost like finding a reflection of God’s true grace in these things. It’s not a perfect picture. It might be a little distorted, but there’s enough there to see God in its reflection.
I caught that reflection in the live version remake of an old Disney animated film, “The Lady and The Tramp.”
This cute little romantic musical comedy about two dogs from different sides of the track was a nice remake of the original Disney cartoon. What most kids would more than likely miss is the underlying theme of abandonment, of not feeling like you belonged anywhere, that played out throughout the film.
For the uninitiated, Tramp is a stray dog living on his own, surviving through his street-smart skills, and filling his belly with backdoor restaurant scraps, while doing his best to avoid the dreaded law, who’s always out to get him, The Dog Catcher! Lady is a more sophisticated dog, whose owners love and care for her very much. These two canines, despite having vastly different experiences, and attitudes to go with it, eventually become fast friends.
By the end of the movie, Tramp’s carefree lawless lifestyle, and the dog catcher, catch up to him, and he is literally being dragged away wounded and defeated. He’s headed to the pound. “There’s only one place for the likes of him,” says the Law!
Lady’s owners plead with the Dog Catcher to stop, but he would not. “He’s a stray and doesn’t belong to anyone!”
In that moment, only one thing stops the Dog Catcher in his tracks. One thing stops the law from inflicting its punishment. Lady’s owners say to this unsympathetic lawman, “He belongs to us. He’s ours!” Just like that, every ounce of power the Dog Catcher had over Tramp, ceased. All he could do is hand him over to his NEW owners.
I watched it, and still couldn’t believe what I was seeing right there on the screen. No, it wasn’t a perfect image, but it was still there, even in its cartoonish movie magic distortion. It was an element of the Gospel right there in front of me. I even teared up as I watched it unfold. It was beautiful. To be told, “You’re mine. You belong to me!”, is an essence of the Gospel that touches our soul, our emotions.
I couldn’t help but consider the life of Christ in that moment. I couldn’t help but consider his death and resurrection, and how it reminds us that Satan holds no power over us anymore. We belong to God now. We are not perfect, and we do struggle, but the enemy can no longer drag us away or separate us from our NEW home.
Like the prodigal clothed with the father’s proof of ownership, his ring, his sandals, his cloak, the Tramp is fitted with a collar that definitively determines who he belongs to, and what his worth is.
Yes, we can find pictures of this unusual God in unusual places.