This weekend we were introduced to the delights of Disney+. A new way of watching many many films and programmes that the household name had produced since the 1930s.
Looking through them we were reminding ourselves of heart-warming stories that capture our imagination and inspire us to do better, be bolder and love more. Mulan striving against gender inequality to uphold her family name and find her own strength in her identity. Pocahontas fighting racial prejudice to open the eyes of others to the way the natural world can speak to us and Rapunzel who had a dream and was going to do everything she could to see it happen.
Stories of bravery against the odds, self-awakening to strengths they never knew they had, acts of kindness that ultimately change the world. And that’s without telling you about all the Marvel, Star Wars and Nature Programmes that we have to explore later – but enough of the sales pitch.
It is vital in these days of doubt, weeks of uncertainty and potentially months of the world being different that we too surround ourselves with stories of valour, bravery and life-changing acts of kindness. Of neighbours leaving shopping on doorsteps, of workers being applauded and Facebook being filled with encouraging messages for teachers and school staff (and pictures of beaches and seasides to brighten up the days). Stories even of older folk giving their life to younger strangers like that of the Italian priest Father Berardelli last week.
And each of our stories have the same thing in common – words that stir the heart, words to inspire us to do the right thing, a faith in something greater than ourselves.
Maybe they are encouraging like the words in Zephaniah 3:17 or John 14:27 or Psalm 55:22 or 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Maybe they are comforting like Philippians 4:6-7 or John 16:33 or Colossians 3:15.
Today you may need Deuteronomy 31:6:
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be afraid…for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Remind yourself of the stories in your life that spur you on to do good things, Be in the full knowledge of God’s love in your life as you start this new week with Him, and although some of your days feel like that of Job or Jonah – let God’s words of power speak into the works of your hands:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may be filled with hope. (Romans 15:13).
Let’s begin our week well and look forward to the hope of Easter. Take care and stay well.