The second surprise was sprung upon them at their arrival. The movie was stuck in a snow storm in southern Colorado. Bummer.
This was followed quickly by a third surprise ... free admission, free popcorn and front row balcony seats to watch the first Kung Fu Panda. What do we say to that? Boo-yeah!
It was okay that this was their fifth or sixth viewing of the movie ... it's one of our favorites!
... Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend. ... He was so deadly, in fact, that his enemies would go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness! ... Hey, what you got? You got nothing because I got it right here. You picking on my friends? Get ready to feel the thunder. Come out with the crazy feet. What you goin' to do about the crazy feet. I'm a blur! I'm a blur! You never seen *Bear* style! ...
Yeah ... you gotta love Po!
Our fourth surprise came the next day over lunch. As we slurped our shakes and munched on popcorn (our traditional meal after church), Brett sprung a question on the kids:
What parts of Kung Fu Panda remind you of something from the Bible?
Here's a little bit about what we talked about ...
Oogway is kinda like God. He is wise and seems to be ageless. At least until he flies away with the blossoms! He is the one who chooses the Dragon Warrior to be the savior of the people. Chosen to save them from horrifying Tai Lung. Even in the face of his odd choice for the Dragon Warrior, he is confident that there are no accidents.
Tai Lung is kinda like satan. He had been trained by Master Shifu and began his training with great promise, but because of his hunger for power, he fell away from the good he could have done and turned on his Master. Sound familiar?
Po could be compared (rather loosely perhaps) with Jesus. He is chosen as the Dragon Warrior but the reception by those in the village and those in the Jade Palace is less than luke-warm. They are incredulous that this simple, noodle-slurping, dumpling-munching, poochy-bellied panda is The One they have been waiting for the past thousand years!
They expected someone more warrior-ish ... and a little less Po-ish. Much like the comments that followed Jesus around - more king-ish and less carpenter-ish.
45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. (John 1:45-46)
“What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:2-3)
Not necessarily shining commendations for the Savior of the world! I'm sure glad they were wrong!
Our final insight into the movie had to do with the Dragon Scroll - the scroll that was supposed to have great power for the owner, the Dragon Warrior. To Po's great surprise, the scroll was blank! The true secret to the scroll was not magical words, but the need for Po to believe in himself. To believe that he was, indeed, the Dragon Warrior and that he had within himself the power to save his village from the evil Tai Lung.
Similarly, our salvation is not evoked with magical words and it is not based on anything we own or any special abilities have. Our salvation is simply found in the need to believe and then declare what we believe:
8 ... “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:8-10, emphasis mine)
As Po acted out his faith, he became the Dragon Warrior ... much to everyone's surprise! His final victory came as he surprised (and conquered) Tai Lung with the Wuxi finger hold. Skadoosh!
Where else does God astound you with spiritual truths? If we open our eyes, we will find them in the most astonishing of places!