Easter, The Lion King, and the Power of Story

Thine Be the glory

I hope you’re enjoying a blessed weekend as we celebrate the Resurrection. The Weekend Book Buzz is taking a break this weekend, but I thought I would take the opportunity to share a conversation I had with my kids this week. And just as my title suggests, it’s all about Easter, The Lion King, and the power of story.

It began several days before Good Friday, when my eight-year-old son asked me (at bedtime, of course, because what better time to become philosophical!): “If we’re supposed to always tell the truth, does that mean we shouldn’t read made up stories?”

What a question! Thank goodness it’s one I’ve considered before! I said that was a great question, and we could talk about it more in the morning, but the quick answer was that made up stories can still tell the truth. For example, when a story shows us the trouble that comes from lying or the healing that comes with forgiveness, they’re teaching a truth that God gives us in the Bible. We only need to be careful of made up stories when they try to tell us something different to what God teaches in the Bible.

This was a concrete lesson our kids learned at an early age, when I removed the story of ‘Puss in Boots’ from a collection of fairy tales our kids loved. I don’t know about other versions of the story, but in this one, Puss in Boots convinces the king through a series of lies and deceptions that his master is a Marquis instead of the pauper he really is. As a result, Puss in Boots’ master marries the daughter of the king, and they all live happily—and wealthily—ever after.

I’ve had to explain several times over the years why I removed this story from the collection (because it’s not telling the truth about how destructive lying ultimately is), and so this example readily came to my son’s mind when I mentioned lying as an example.

It wasn’t until a few days later, while my kids were watching The Lion King, that I remembered that conversation and the fact that ‘made up stories’ often tell the biggest truth of all: Good triumphs over evil. And hot on the heels of that thought was the realisation that the emotional responses elicited by the story of The Lion King have many parallels to the emotional journey we take from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday. Fair warning: if by some chance you haven’t seen The Lion King and don’t know the story, there are spoilers ahead.

There is the horror of Mufasa’s death—at the hands of his own brother, no less. What a betrayal! There is the fact that it was for Simba’s sake that his father ultimately lost his life. There is the despair of Nala and the other lions left behind in the Pride Lands, believing their true king was dead. There is Nala’s joy when she discovers that Simba is not dead as they all believed. And then there is the triumph of Simba’s return, when he defeats Scar once and for all.

I’m not arguing that The Lion King is some kind of Gospel allegory—it’s not—but as we sat around the table at lunch on Good Friday, it became a great springboard for discussing our emotional responses to Christ’s death and resurrection as well as the emotional responses of various people in the Gospel narrative. It’s one thing for our kids to have an intellectual understanding that Christ died for their sins, but when we discussed how they felt when Mufasa died and then pointed out that Christ also sacrificed his life so that we might be saved, it opened the door to a deeper emotional understanding of just what Good Friday means to us.

Story has a unique ability to engage our emotions, and every time it engages those emotions to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, it also celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, just as we do this weekend. The only reason good can triumph over evil is because Christ did it first, when he fulfilled the Law and became our Passover lamb.

I pray that you will experience the joy of that realization to the fullest this weekend. And next time you read a story where good triumphs over evil, be it a simple fairy tale or the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, may you remember the truth it declares:

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia, alleluia!

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in General, General Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Easter, The Lion King, and the Power of Story

  1. Jen says:

    I love this, Katie! We have as a family actively engaged in Once Upon a Time–the ABC series, and have had so often had the opportunity to discuss what is true (one savior who alone can save the whole town) vs. what isn’t true (we can all earn forgiveness–earn a chance at grace). This has been really awesome for us to talk with our teens about separating the truth that stories can tell us, and deceptions that can be hidden within. And as usual, story is powerful. Ultimately, we are each responsible for seeking the Truth in God’s Word so that we can know the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.