Up: Searching for Adventure

by The Rev. Rich Heinz

Up movie posterThis weekend, my family saw Up, the latest Disney/Pixar film. Once again, the great minds (and computers) at Pixar have proven that they cannot produce a bad or even mediochre film...every Disney/Pixar is a great film!

Up presents Carl Fredricksen, a man who grew up dreaming of adventure with his childhood sweetheart. They did grow up and get married, and had a lovely, normal life, never reaching their South American adventure. We see a montage of scenes from across the years, "filling us in," until we see him widowed and his quaint Victorian surrounded by construction.

Along the way we meet Russell, a "Wilderness Explorer" -- (read "Boy Scout.") Russell happens to be at the house when Carl unleashes thousands of helium balloons to carry his house far from the depressing overhaul of his neighborhood.

The house floats to Paradise Falls, in South America, where Carl and his beloved Ellie had always dreamed of going. Yet through it all, Carl (who has been a gruff recluse) learns from Russell that sometimes the best and favorite memories are the ordinary ones, not exciting adventures.

Russell could teach people about the Holy Liturgy too. Far too often we have people yearning for something new and exciting. "If we only had this pop song style, or that multi-media equipment, we'd really pack in the young people!" some say.

Hmm....listen to Russell. The best aspect of the Liturgy is that it does not change on you. You can count on it. Yes, hymns, readings, and prayers may change, but certain items are the same week in and week out. That is a GOOD thing. Stability. Reliability. While the world changes around you and things can become chaotic, the Divine Service will be your sure and certain friend through it all.

The best worship experiences are not chasing after moments of excitment, searching desperately for mountain top experiences. The best moments of worship are ordinary. Or rather, the best moments of worship are when we recognize just how amazing and extraordinary it is for our Almighty and Eternal God-in-the-flesh comes to us in His Gifts and forgives us...which He does through ordinary elements of bread, wine, water, and Word!

Up is a touching film, which I highly recommend. It also has some beautiful, if not subtle, applications to our lives.

Created: June 8th, 2009