Lions with Amnesia and the Salvific Voice of James Earl Jones

Nostalgia bleeds through the screen as The Lion King remake plays before me. The CGI is astounding and the story still holds strong. For many it’s a remembrance of their childhood. A flashback to simpler times. A time forgotten. However, through Simba’s eyes, something else has been forgotten. His identity.

Simba is riddled with amnesia of who he is because of the guilt and shame he has been wearing for so long. His Uncle murdered his father when he was just a cub and blamed him for the death. The accusation of the law drove Simba to uncharted territory where he met misfit friends, ate disgusting bugs and tried to live life under the banner of Hakuna Matata. Translation: No worries. But the worries don’t stay away “for the rest of your days.” They actually come hunting him down.

His old childhood friend, Nala, attempts to call him back to his identity but it is pushed aside. At least until he sees Him. Mufasa. Simba is told he can still hear from his father, for he is alive and not dead. He follows a spastic baboon named Rafiki to a watering hole where in the reflection he sees his father, in himself. Then above the waters the clouds cluster together and a voice penetrates through them.

“Remember who you are…You’re my son…”

Rafiki informs Simba his father lives in him, he is not dead. Simba receives this identity, now equipped to begin work on the scars and laughing hyenas in his life. It’s a tale not too different than the one we find ourselves in. Finding ourselves heavy laden with the law, forgetting the identity we now have. Forgetting the one who has, is and will be with us. Simba is not unlike the downtrodden Christian who can’t stop staring at the rap sheet of their sins. The one who has forgotten the kingdom they belong to and the king whom is their father. The one who has forgotten the Spirit who resides inside them, forgotten their status as son or daughter. Like Simba who is unprepared to handle Scar and the Hyenas without the remembrance of his identity, so the believer is when wrestling with their sin.

Simba’s communion moment with his father is one to remind us of ours. And just like his forgetfulness, we too forget to remember who we are. We forget wherever we are, whatever we do, nothing will separate us from the love of God. We forget our sins are remembered no more. We forget the call to remember and the declaration of who we are. So, eat of the bread, drink of the wine and hear the exalted voice of James Earl Jones calling you to remember.

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