We need to so soak this land in the rich witness of love and light, the kind of applied grace spills all over everyone. Through you, and through me. A thousand small decisions at a time.
A Walt Disney Animation Studios movie called Moana was released in November 2016. The film tells a story about a brave young woman who sets out on an adventure to save her family. She is the daughter of a chief of a Polynesian village. Moana has to sail across the ocean to find a demigod named Maui to return the heart of Te Fiti, that he stole, to save her people. Maui, is a demigod who can change into any animal as long as he has his fishhook. Moana and Maui must find his fishhook before sailing to Te Fiti. The voyage is long and dangerous. There are many lessons to be learned through this film and these characters.
When Maui stole Te Fiti’s heart, Te Ka’s darkness poisoned the island. The village is running out of food, and the curse is destroying trees. Moana’s father does not allow her to venture beyond the reef due to the dangers of the sea. Her grandmother, Tala, gives her the heart of Te Fiti and encourages her to live out her dreams. Tala tells Moana that she was chosen to save the village and shows her a secret cave with ships hidden inside. The cave reveals her families past as they were voyagers. After her grandmother’s passing, she followed after her calling and left the village to find Maui and return the heart to Te Fiti.
As Christians, we are all born with a gift, a calling from God, to do something for His kingdom. We are all made for a purpose, and we must seek that calling. Just like Moana, we must be brave and set out on our adventure to the unknown. Moana was not afraid to fail, because she knew she had to save her family. She had a destiny she must fulfill and, with courage, she fulfilled it. Now, she did not succeed by traveling alone. She found Maui, the demigod, and, with much resistance, he went with her to Te Fiti. You see, when we are on our journey of learning who we are, God is guiding us in the right direction. Maui was a skilled sailor, and guided the boat in the right direction. Moana learned from Maui how to be a skilled sailor. It is no different than us. We learn from God the more we spend time with Him. We learn His ways and His character. Moana began to trust Maui and learned from Him on how to be strong and confident.
Moana taught Maui a lesson as well. In this story, Maui must learn from His mistakes and face his past. Just like in 1 Samuel 17:1-25:7 (David and Goliath), Maui had to face a giant whom he was fearful of, the volcanic demon. The demon could throw fireballs from the palms of her hands. After one attempt to get past the demon, Maui’s fishhook, which makes him a demigod, is cracked. He is afraid to lose his powers, so he abandons Moana on the ship and flies off as an eagle.
Moana is defeated and alone in the ocean. Her past grandmother came to her as a stingray to remind her of her calling, but also gave her the choice to go home. Her grandmother would guide her home if that’s what Moana decided. With courage, Moana decided to return the heart of Te Fiti on her own. She repaired the ship and headed back to Te Fiti to defeat the volcanic demon. In the middle of the battle, Maui shows up and distracts the demon while Moana attempts to return the heart. During the battle, Maui’s fishhook is broken. In the meantime, Maona finds that Te Fiti is missing and figures out that volcanic demon is Te Fiti. She courageously holds out the heart, and the demon sees it from afar. Te Fiti runs toward Moana with speed and intimidation. Moana doesn’t run, but, yet, she gently places her head onto the demon’s forehead showing compassion. She then returns the heart into the demon’s eye, and, immediately, the island and the ocean is cured from the curse. Te Fiti restores Maui’s fishhook and then lays to rest at Te Ka’s Island. Whatever damage Maui’s caused, it was healed and brought back to it’s original state.
Just like this story, God gives us chance after chance to make things right. We cannot change the past, but we can change our future. Just like Maui, he caused the curse of the island and the ocean by stealing the heart of Te Fiti. Te Fiti held a grudge and became a “monster”. Think about it….when we hold grudges against someone or something, then we become like a monster with our vengeance. We may not have the ability to throw fireballs at someone or something, but we do it with our words and action. Once Te Fiti saw her heart, she melted, and turned into a beautiful island again. She restored Maui’s power by fixing his fishhook. Te Fiti forgave Maui, and Maui was grateful for her gesture. As Christians, God calls us to forgive. A grudge only makes us do irrational things which only brings more hurt. I encourage all of us to stop throwing fireballs at each other and start acknowledging our wrongs. Let us heal hearts; not break them.
Throughout this movie, it shows us:
- sacrifice (Moana: leaving home)
- love (Moana: family)
- life’s purpose (Moana: her calling)
- bravery (Moana and Maui: the unknown and facing their fears)
- defiance (Maui: resistance to go with Moana to Te Fiti)
- acceptance (Maui: returning to save Moana’s village)
- grudge (Te Fiti: wanting her heart back)
- compassion (Moana: showing compassion to Te Fiti)
- healing (Moana and Maui: healing Te Fiti’s heart)
- forgiveness (Te Fiti: restoring Maui’s power)
God is all these things and much more!
I challenge you this week to face your fears and walk out your destiny. What has God called you to do? Is fear is getting in the way? I pray you find the faith to step out and go on a wild adventure with God. He will guide you every step of the way!
I also challenge you to read the list above and see what areas you struggle in. I encourage you to pray with God over these matters. If you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness, I pray you find the courage to confront the issue face-to-face. If you do not know your purpose in life, I pray you seek God for answers. Just like the fishhook giving Maui powers, praying to God is the most powerful thing you can do, because prayer heals and restores.