There’s a scene in the pixar film “UP” (haven’t seen it…watch below) that depicts Carl and his Wife Ellie from their marriage to her death many years later. In the scene they continuously try to fill a jar with money for a trip to paradise falls. Just as happens in reality, each time the couple begins to fill the jar, something happens that causes them to have to smash it and use the funds for other things.
That Jar reminds me of what many of us experience with religion and spirituality. Inside us all is a desire to go to “paradise falls”. We sense that “adventure is out there” and so we hope that SOME DAY we can go there. We set up a “Jar” and fill it with our best deeds, intentions, and prayers. We fill our little “Jar” of spirituality and religion with church attendance, spare change, and the occasional good deed. We hope that someday it will get us to “paradise falls”. Unfortunately, just like in the film UP…”life” comes along and smashes our “Jar”. Disappointments and Distractions smash our “Jar”. We start the process again and again…but every time…something comes along in life that smashes our “Jar”.In Philippians 3:4-14 Paul speaks of a journey instead of a “jar”. Instead of trying to “save up” for some day…Paul speaks of taking off on a Journey just as Carl does in the film “UP”. Although the apostle Paul wasn’t suggesting that we tether thousands of balloons to our homes and float away, what he was suggesting was nearly as dramatic. To go on the journey we have to disconnect from the past and leave things behind…things that hold us back…things we are most proud of…things we are most ashamed of.
I am so excited for the people today who decided to be part of the “Upward call” our scripture described. I struggled all week with whether I should actually suggest something as ridiculous as writing down the things that each of us needed to “forget and leave behind” and launching it into the sky with a balloon. I came up with so many good reasons why not to suggest it… But of course we did it anyway. :-) I’m so glad we did.
13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13-14