I’ve never been a big fan of musicals. Probably the main reason is because they rarely involve biceps, explosions, blood, and guts. Where’s the testosterone? This may be why I can’t remember much about Mary Poppins.
Last night, Jessica and I watched a movie called Saving Mr. Banks. (Spoiler Alert!) It tells the true story of how Walt Disney spent 20 years begging Mrs. Travers to give him the rights to turn her book, Mary Poppins, into a children’s movie. It also tells the story of what inspired her to write this book.
As a child, Mrs. Travers grew up with a charismatic father, a jealous mother who went nuts, and a nanny who came to care for the children. The nanny promised to fix all the problems in the home. Unfortunately, what needed fixed was their father, who was Travers’ hero. He turned out to be a loser who lost jobs, his family, and eventually his life to alcohol. They were all disappointed in a father and a nanny who both let them down.
Walt Disney finally figured out why Mrs. Travers couldn’t trust anyone with her story. Mary Poppins was an allegory of her own life. She didn’t want her father’s “true colors” portrayed to the world in the character of Mr. Banks.
Being a man who sees good in everybody, Walt convinced Mrs. Travers that he wanted to “save Mr. Banks,” meaning he wanted to save his reputation. Touched at the heart, Travers finally surrendered and released her story to Disney.
With Disney’s touch, something incredible happened to the story. They reinvented the roles of the people who let her down the most and made them amazing instead! The over-promising, under-delivering nanny became Mary Poppins, the magical lady that could make everything right and bring happiness to anyone. And the loser father who drank his entire life away became the hero father who eventually became the happy and fun family man.
The story behind Mary Poppins is one of redemption. It is a story of someone who was able to pull the gold out of someone who looks dark and dirty, to pull out strength from someone who looks weak. It is about being able to see beneath an ugly exterior and find beauty. It takes a gift to see a hero when everyone else sees a loser.
We need to learn from this for our own sakes. I’m not calling any of us losers, by any means, because we all are in the same boat when it comes to greatness. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).
But the lens Walt Disney was looking through was the same kind God uses. It’s the lens of redemption. When God looks at you and me, what He should rightfully see is every flaw and sin. But the lens of redemption sees differently.
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).
God is always thinking about you, and He isn’t honing in on your sin; He is thinking about how much He loves you!
And its not just that He chooses to ignore your sins so He can convince Himself to love you. He has actually removed sin from the stage for all believers. He has written a new screenplay for you.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions (sins) from us,” (Psalms 103:12).
Jesus got away one weekend to a place called Calvary so He could write your new manuscript. The ink He typed it in was made of blood. And the story He wrote you into doesn’t include your fallenness; it portrays you as the hero, the one who is full of love, joy, righteousness, and strength.
You see, your story from heavens perspective is being filmed through the lens of redemption. Just as Walt “Saved Mr. Banks” from his failed life, so has Jesus done for you! Isn’t that supercalifragilistic?