by the Rev. Rich Heinz
Warning: Spoilers follow.
“You were much more... muchier. You've lost your muchness,” laments the Mad Hatter to Alice in the newest version of Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland.” The film briefly introduces Alice as a child, then skips over ten years to what is to be her engagement party. Alice once again sees the White Rabbit from her “dreams” and again falls down the hole, drinks the bottle labeled “Drink me” to shrink, and eats the cake to grow large, encounters the “Red Queen” (Queen of Hearts), Knave of Hearts, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and all the others from her childhood adventure.
However, upon discovering that she will have to take the vorpal sword and slay the Jabberwocky, the grown Alice must dig deep inside and find the child that she was – the little girl who could indeed be muchier and defeat this monster, and therefore defeat the wicked queen.
Once she realizes she is not merely dreaming, the young adult Alice is convinced that killing the Jabberwocky is impossible. “I don’t slay,” she maintains, before the caterpillar points out some obvious wisdom she already had, in her deep, “inner child.”
A realization comes over her: “Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” And with her belief comes the strength, courage, and muchness that she needs to slay the monster.
While the entire film celebrates that people have choices and can choose to believe – choose to be strong and slay their Jabberwockies. Theologically, we call this mistaken notion “decision theology.” This is the idea that you can actually choose to believe, receiving Jesus as your Savior. We know from the Scriptures, that this is not true. He has chosen us! Luther rejoices over this in the Catechism: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified, and kept me in the true faith” (Small Catechism, Creed, III.)
You have the joy of being in amazing wonder that Jesus does call you to faith. He gives you belief! And not only does He give you faith, but He gives you the faith of a little child! “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it,”says our Savior (Luke 18:17 ESV.)
Through Holy Baptism, His Spirit comes and makes us children of our Heavenly Father. He gifts us with child-like faith and welcomes us into His kingdom. As He plunged us into the mighty waters of the font, Christ Himself brought us into the Wonderland of His Kingdom. Don’t worry that you don’t slay; on the cross He slew the dreaded Jabberwockies of sin and death, and rescued us from the clutches of the devil. At the font, He delivered those gifts to us.
The world thinks that the Bible is full of myths and fairy tales. Many would say we are mad, and that the Scriptures fill our minds with impossible things. To that, we reply with Alice, “Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Yet we don’t even need six! We have the joy that the Holy Spirit has placed the “impossible thing” of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as the foundation for our faith.
We also have the joy of continually gathering as His children at His Table. But we do not gather for some mad tea party. Instead, our Lord blesses us with the wonders of His Body and Blood, given and shed for us—and that drives the devil mad!
Thanks be to God that He keeps you forever childlike in the faith. Our crucified and risen Savior will preserve you from losing your muchness! You haven’t lost your muchness at all! Jesus gives you muchness in believing the “impossible things” that He has truly done – and given – for you!
The Rev. Rich Heinz is Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church & School in Chicago, Illinois. Since the Heinz’s are huge Disney fans, he enjoyed going to Navy Pier’s IMAX and seeing “Alice in Wonderland” with his wife for her birthday!
Created: March 16th, 2010