On this episode of Finding Christ In Cinema, we chase the White Rabbit all the way to the Red Queen as we look for Christian themes in Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND. What makes God’s love possible? Is it the fact that it’s so impossible? All that and more in 3…2…1!
Don’t forget to check out our good friend John’s sermon “In the House of Pharaoh, But Not Of the House of Pharaoh.“
The “Impossible” Language in Alice in Wonderland
In Alice in Wonderland, there’s a lot of talk surrounding the terms “possible” and “impossible,” and I believe this is the platform from which we can proclaim God’s impossible love for us.
In the initial dialogue of the film, Alice’s entrepreneurial father Charles Kingsleigh is bombarded with naysayers refusing to invest in his business because it seems “impossible.”
This invigorating attitude made Charles successful, but he couldn’t enjoy that success because of an untimely death. However, Alice and her mother do enjoy this success, and it’s this success that catches the interest of Lord Hamish Ascot who subsequently asks for Alice’s hand in marriage. However, Alice and Hamish do not get along at all.
Because Alice feels that everything is moving too fast, she says she needs some alone time to think; however, she really just wants to chase the white rabbit. She then falls out of the framing device and into Underland (which she mistakenly called “Wonderland” when she first dropped in thirteen years ago).
Once in Underland, she learns that she is a major player in the prophecy of Frabjous Day as foretold in the Oraculum. This, however, just proves another world of pretense of which Alice wants to have no part. She even think that this whole Underland experience is a dream and really worth nothing more than a pinch on the shoulder for waking up.
However, in a moment of “solitude” with the caterpillar Absolem, she realizes that Underland is real, that others need her help, that others have been waiting for her help, and that good people will die if she doesn’t help. She then has a change of heart and sets out to slay the Jabberwocky – not because she has to, but because she wants to.
After her change of heart and her embracing of the title of “Champion,” the fully-armored Alice steps out on the battlefield to face the Jabberwocky. She, of course, how much of an “impossible” task this will be. The Mad Hatter then says some encouraging words.
This, in turn, reminds Alice of her father and how he used to think of and even believe in six impossible things before breakfast. Alice, as she commences in the battle with the Jabberwocky, even counts out her own six impossible things.
Alice is essentially so encouraged by these six impossible things that she ultimately slays the Jabberwocky – not because she has to, but because she wants to – all because these thought to be impossible things were actually possible and absolutely doable.
God’s “Impossible” Love
This is where I want to look at Matthew 19. Jesus has just told the Rich, Young Ruler that if he really wants to participate in the kingdom, he should sell all his possessions, give the money to the needy, and follow him. The Rich, Young Ruler, evidently not wanting to really participate in the kingdom, walks away with his head down.
As the Rich, Young Ruler is walking away, Jesus continues his lesson by saying that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. This virtually impossible example astonishes the apostles, so they subsequently ask, “Who then can be saved?”
And here, we’ve reached our key text of Matthew 19:26: But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
What is “impossible”? That a virgin could ever give birth. That an ordinary man can make the lame walk and the blind see. That an innocent man could be put to death for a crime he never committed. That that same man could then be raised from the dead and ascend into heaven to live with the God he served.
And what else is “impossible”? That God loves us no matter. That God continues to love us even when we miss the mark. And that even as selfish, as lustful, and as proud as we were, God still wants us to come back home to Him.
So the next time you watch Tim Burton ALICE IN WONDERLAND, remember how impossible God’s love is and share it with someone.
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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.
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