The Gospel in Mary Poppins!

Hey!  Y’all get a two-fer!  =)  Two blog posts for the dating of one!  =)

With the advent of the anniversary of Mary Poppins, I enjoyed the movie with my children.   As I did, I was taken back to simpler days (or so they seemed!) and my love for this movie was rekindled.  The true shock, though, came when I saw the Gospel in Mary Poppins!  After having given this talk (it takes like 15 minutes) to many folks, I decided to post it out here for you all.  The advent of posting it for a friend on her page made it quite simple to copy and paste here.  =)  (Yes.  I’m a little lazy!)  While I could probably write a term paper on this, I don’t have that much free time to take up (I’m already past my bedtime).  So, I will have to leave you with the Reader’s Digest version.  I humbly ask your forgiveness for anything I have missed, overlooked, or otherwise misstated.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term “the Gospel” it is the phrase used to identify the incredible truth that God became a man, the person Jesus of Nazareth, lived among us for 33 years, He was beaten, and crucified on a cross, willfully, to pay the penalty of our sins. Within the Gospel is the wonderful truth that if we will accept Jesus sacrifice and allow Him to be Lord in our lives, we can be saved from the condemnation we have (and will) create for ourselves by our rebellion against God’s law.

As for the Gospel in Mary Poppins, part of this is me; I have a knack for finding the Gospel in just about anything, but Mary Poppins lends itself to it so beautifully.  You see, Mr. Banks is much like Judaism* was and much of modern Judaism* is; he is a man ruled by law, and he fails to realize the law is insufficient to save him. He believes that the law will create a proper family, government, etc. He misses the fact that the law is pointing to Someone greater, that Banks himself cannot fulfill the law he claims to hold to!

Enter a Bert. Bert is a type/picture of the Holy Spirit. He is present among the people, doing what he can to point to the Truth, but folks aren’t always listening, and even some that are listening don’t care. It is Bert who enlightens the watcher to notice that the law alone is insufficient to save the Banks, and he identifies that Mary Poppins is someone of unique ability.

Enter Mary Poppins. We are told in the Bible that at the fullness of times, Jesus was sent (Galatians 4:4). In the same way, it is when the Banks are at a point of readiness that Mary Poppins enters. Mr. Banks is comfortable in his law, Mrs. Banks in her tepid rebellions against Mr. Banks, and the children in their childish manners. It is also the children who give us the first glimpse of who Mary Poppins should be. This harkens back to Jesus statement that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as children (Matthew 19:14).

So, Mary Poppins shows up and does not contradict or demean Mr. Banks. In fact, she shows him that she fulfills his requirements, but in a way he did not expect. She produces before him an incredible example of a prim and proper lady, but without the religiosity of his law. And it is her presence that enlivened the whole house, as Jesus presence changed history!

At the proper time, Mary Poppins has set things in order and makes her exit. This is where the analogy diverges. Mary Poppins says goodbye and is gone, leaving Bert with no particular instructions. But her mark is clearly made and felt.

When Jesus time to exit came, it took place over many weeks. There was his judgment by the High Priest, his brutal beating, his being mocked, his 40 lashes (which often killed people, it was that brutal), and his crucifixion (before which, it is noted that he was barely recognizable). He hangs on a cross for 3 hours before giving up His Spirit and dying. After which, His body is buried in a tomb for three days before He rises. He then spent some time (I forget the exact number at the moment) showing Himself before 500 witnesses (at different times) before finally ascending to Heaven. He sent the Holy Spirit, which now lives within those who claim Jesus as their own) to take care of those of us here, and as a guarantee of His promise to return.

I do find it interesting, though, that Mary Poppins ends with the flying of kites and that she, too, ascends into the skies not to be found. There are other tidbits within the movie that point, I think, to other details of the Gospel, but I won’t go into those here for brevity sake. All around, it is one of my absolute favorite movies!

*If my statement about Judaism are inaccurate, please understand I mean no offense, y’all! Seriously! I have a ton of love for Israel and all Jews! This has been my understanding of Judaism pre- and post-Christianity. While I don’t want to get into a full argument, I welcome some correction in the comments, as long as you’re not rude or foul-mouthed about it. Thank you!

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