Submitted by Andy McIlvain.
Recently my lovely wife and I took our grandsons to see the Disney movie Christopher Robin at our local theatre. It brought back wonderful memories of the original Disney Winne the Pooh and how the movie and the books helped me through difficult times as a child. C. S. Lewis said, “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
Christopher Robin has grown up and, like you and I, gets caught up in the adult world and forgets the joy and wonder of his childhood. In the book The Gospel According to Winne the Pooh, John Epperly looks at how A.A. Milne created a community of unique, genuine, broken, quirky individuals in need of redemption and yet, through it all, there is acceptance and forgiveness. The author explores “the movements of God, through change, growth and relationship.”
Winnie the Pooh is the simple live-in-the-moment bear, engaged, always transparent, and rejoicing in the holy now. Pooh trusts that the adventure will always work out in the end and that honey will always be found. Christopher Robin is the beloved disciple, the Christ-bearer who brings the storyteller’s message to the 100 Acre Wood. He is a mirror of love and wisdom, the image of God that animates Winnie and his friends and shares what he is learning with them. Piglet is a small creature who is at once beautiful and brave, yet often anxious about the adventures he goes on with Winnie and Christopher Robin. Rabbit loves order and familiarity but is xenophobic (has a fear of strangers). In his interactions with the resident strangers, Kanga and Roo, and the irrepressible Tigger, Rabbit discovers that “strangers” can bring joy and balance to the 100 Aker wood. Eeyore realizes he is not the center of the universe and appreciates even the smallest of blessings. And then there is Owl, whose wisdom often confuses everyone, but he is still loved by all.
Can we see ourselves in these beloved characters? Epperly suggests the adult Christopher (as well as all grown-ups) need to embrace the child-like wisdom of Pooh and his friends in order to truly live.
Therein we find the wisdom of the 100 Aker Wood. In our short brief life, which lasts for but a second and is then suddenly gone, we are not called to make idols of our productivity, or our jobs or anything else in life. We are called to do a good job as unto the Lord no matter the circumstances or situation. The same Lord that established the Sabbath for worship and rest, is the same Lord that deliberately made space and time for rest and meditation, the same Lord that made time for the people around him and the people he met.