You guys know I have mad love for kids' movies. There's just so much good stuff tucked away in those friendly animated features.
Lately I've been thinking about A Bug's Life.
In case you've forgotten the plot line, it goes something like this: a few grasshoppers subjugate an ant colony with threats of violence and lots of reminders of how weak ants are. The grasshoppers enslave the ants, forcing them to gather food for the grasshoppers.
How many of us have been told that we're mindless, soil-shoving losers, put on this earth to serve a grasshopper?
Well--probably none of us in quite those words.
The grasshoppers most of us face aren't quite so obvious as Hopper in A Bug's Life.
It's quite a bit harder to identify the more subtle oppressions, served up with a smile, a Bible verse, and the threat of hell if we disobey.
But a lot of us have been told, one way or another, that ideas are dangerous, that we ought to stop thinking, stop questioning, stop doubting.
We ought to just grind out another year's worth of food for the grasshoppers, cuz if we don't...
God loves you, but he'll send you to hell if you don't obey just the way the grasshoppers say.
That's the story.
And it's a big life-destroying lie.
It's absolutely outrageous to me how Jesus came into the world to give us freedom from the Law, from death, from judgment--and yet so often we find ourselves right back in a religious bondage so fierce it would make a Pharisee tremble.
Because the grasshoppers learned this a long time ago: Bible verses are the best way to oppress people.
The Pharisees knew it. Religious systems today know it. It works like a freaking charm.
But the subversive story of the Bible is this:
Jesus offers us life in abundance.
Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female--we're all one.
And every single gift and goodness is ours--ALL of ours.
Free for the receiving.
Jesus came saying, "It's me--don't be afraid."
And anyone who says otherwise:
- anyone who has a lot of rules for who gets to be in or out
- anyone who causes pain to others with those rules
- anyone whose rules make their own lives easier and the lives of others more difficult
- anyone who says their rules matter more than Love and freedom and peace for the whole world
- anyone who tells you that you MUST be afraid if you step outside of their rules
might just be a grasshopper.
And when you get tired of feeding the grasshoppers, you can stop.
The freedom is already yours.
Hold out your hands and receive it.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Then I will repay you for the years that the mature locusts, the adult locusts, the grasshoppers, and the young locusts ate your crops. Joel 2:25