This is crazy — I did it again.
Do you recall last Friday’s article, where I vulnerably confessed to going solo to see “Mary Poppins Returns” with pen and pad to take notes about the movie? Well, I just did it again. This makes three times I’ve seen the film, so I’m thinking for Dave this is like “Mary Poppins Returns Again and Once Again Again.”
I really do love the movie, finding it both inspiring and deeply touching. I recognize some of this has to do with the lifetime I’ve lived between seeing the original “Mary Poppins” and now its sequel, and the introspection induced and poignant memories evoked while viewing it.
Nonetheless, watching a flick three times in less than two weeks is crazy to me.
But I may go more yet. It’s that good.
There are multitudes of quotable quotes; some are thought-provoking tidbits to ponder, other philosophical pronouncements woven into the central theme with song, dance, and animation.
Resulting from my service as a pastor, my tendency is to routinely filter life through spiritual lenses, always peering the deeper meaning or purpose of it. “Mary Poppins Returns” is chock full of messages that cause my brow to raise in consideration of their deeper meaning.
Here are a few that conjure my contemplation:
• “Nothing’s gone forever, only out of place.”
• “You’ve forgotten what it’s like … to be a child.”
• “A cover is not the book.”
• “You can’t lose what you never lost.”
• “It’s all in the way you look at things.”
• “Too focused on where you’ve been to pay attention to where you’re going.”
• “So hold on tight to those you love.”
And there’s one more I’d like us to consider: “Everything is possible, even the impossible.”
This adage is stated twice during the film. Once near the beginning, the three children of the household argue and wrestle one another over a “priceless” Royal Doulton bowl, and break it in the process. Not only is there a crack in the bowl and a piece broken out, but the bowl’s painting of a serene autumn scene in the country with a Clydesdale horse, coachman and carriage has also changed, with a wheel fallen off and the carriage sitting on its axle.
The animated horse and coachman begin to dialogue with Mary Poppins, and it’s decided that the kids must fix the broken wheel since the damage was of their doing.
Annabel, the young sister, states, “We can’t fix their carriage wheel. It isn’t possible!”, to which Ms. Poppins retorts, “Everything is possible, even the impossible.”
Some cinematographic magic ensues, and following a wonderful comedic song and dance routine, and a dramatic chase racing through the country, the carriage is eventually repaired.
So, the impossible was, in fact, possible.
Later in the film, in what becomes the climactic culmination of the tale, the children’s father, Michael Banks, was given until the “last stroke of midnight” to produce the share certificate needed to stop the foreclosure of his family home.
After an exhaustive but futile search for the certificate, they just happen to find it glued over a hole in his youngest son’s kite, at seven minutes until midnight.
There is the expected elation, but then reality sets in as Michael exclaims, “Seven minutes? It’s not enough. We need to make it to the bank by midnight.”
His Aunt Jane asks “What can we do?”, to which Michael dejectedly responds, “Nothing. We can’t turn back time.”
It’s a sad moment for sure. Then daughter Annabel cleverly challenges Father’s assertion with, “Why not? Everything is possible — even the impossible.”
I won’t tell you what happens thereafter, but the feeling following is not unlike hearing Rocky Balboa’s passionate bellowing of “Adrian!” in the first “Rocky”. You need to see it for yourself.
As we consider sequels, did you know that this quotable quote about all things being possible isn’t exactly original? Not that Walt Disney Pictures need be concerned about a copyright infringement, as the author I’m referencing penned the phrase nearly 2,000 years ago (likely 1,962 to 1,968 years ago, to be more specific).
His name was John Mark, known more commonly as Mark, relative of Barnabas and friend of Peter in the Bible, who was documenting the words of Jesus in the book we know as the Gospel of Mark.
The book of Mark, chapter 10, verse 27, says: “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
Jesus was saying that even the impossible … is possible … with God. Hmmmm, very interesting, huh?
This verse is in the context of a man asking Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). We know very little about this man, except that he claims (Mark 10:20) to have kept God’s commandments “since I was a boy”, and we find (Mark 10:22) that he was wealthy and had “great possessions”.
Based on other implications, it is typically assumed that the man was Jewish, perhaps even a ruler in the local synagogue. He wasn’t testing or debating Jesus with the question, but seemingly desired to know, in essence, am I good enough to get to Heaven?
Jesus threw him a curve, lovingly instructing him (Mark 10:21) to “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Thereafter, we’re told that the man’s countenance fell and he left saddened by the interaction.
Jesus’ disciples also were perplexed by what they heard. Jesus clarified, saying, get this: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They must all have been thinking “whaaat?”, and discussed among themselves (Mark 10:26), “who then can be saved?”
In other words, if this wealthy man, likely a respected leader in the community, who had diligently upheld the commandments, wouldn’t inherit eternal life, who could? I mean, come on, seriously, how could a camel get through the eye of a needle? How can a person be saved?
And then Jesus, quoting Mary Poppins (just kidding), said (Mark 10:27), ““With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Let me boil this down for us. The issue really wasn’t the riches of the man, or his supposed social status, or righteous living, but that he based his credentials for eternal life, his worthiness for Heaven if you will, on them.
NOBODY can live a life good enough to justify God’s gift of life everlasting, just as no camel can shrink sufficiently to squeeze through a needle.
It is truly impossible for anyone to be righteous enough to earn salvation, but by God giving us His Son, Jesus, and through the unfathomable obedience of Jesus going to the cross on our behalf, even the impossible became possible.
The book of Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 8 and 9 puts it this way: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Does this make sense? It’s a gift.
You can’t do it; Jesus can.
Dave Hinman is Pastoral Elder at Dove Church Wilmington. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .