“See if you can find any glimpses of God’s Kingdom in the Magic Kingdom.”
This was a text I sent to a friend who was going to Disney World with her family. She’s a prayer warrior and shines God’s light where ever she goes. I figured it would be fun to task her with this thought while she was there.
In thinking about the two times I’ve been to the Magic Kingdom, I was contemplating in my head the similarities and differences between what Walt Disney’s interpretation of “where dreams come true” and another Kingdom altogether – that of God’s.
As best I can put together, Disneyland was known by the nickname Magic Kingdom prior to Walt Disney World being built in Florida, in which the Magic Kingdom theme park was built. Disneyland’s official tagline is “The Happiest Place on Earth.” But the tagline for Magic Kingdom is “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” The slogan of Disney Parks is the one mentioned above, “Where Dreams Come True.” I know, it’s confusing – but therein lies the magic!
I’m not looking for this post to create discord nor do I want to argue the merits of the Disney effect. Just to be clear, I have nothing against Disney World and the Magical Kingdom other than the long lines and high prices. For those who like theme parks and traveling to a fantasy world to escape the realities of the real world, it makes for some great memories and family time.
When you have such a place where people flock to make those memories and seek a temporary bit of happiness, I wonder if they find what they are looking for? Is it just that? Temporary? You see, any time we have a chance to get away, what ever we’re getting away from is still there when we get back. It’s still there when we return to reality.
When you return from a trip to Disney, or any other travel, you physically unpack your luggage. It all goes in the wash. The flight of fancy is over. The castles in the air come crashing down. While your luggage is emptied, your baggage is still there until it too is unpacked and cleaned out. The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is eternal.
An escape to a magical place that makes you feel happy is a good way to spend a week. But what about the other 51 weeks in the year? The question here becomes, how can you make where you are the “happiest place on earth?”
I believe it’s in our packing. Not cramming our shorts, swimsuits, flipflops, and sunscreen in a 2 x 3 box on rollers. It’s packing (preparing) for the other Kingdom – the one not with a mouse and castle, but a Lamb and throne. Our packing list is fairly light. It includes a simple prayer asking Jesus to come into your life. There’s nothing magical about that. Jesus, through His death on the cross, paid the price for us to enter the Kingdom. He paid the high ticket price so we would not have to. We all got Fastpasses! If we ask for it. That’s all. No more, no less.
Anything else you choose to pack is superfluous. But what ever you have room for, cram it in: acts of kindness, words of encouragement, purposeful prayer, enough faith to move mountains, cheerful giving, exceptional grace, thoughts of purity, loving your enemies, practicing the Golden Rule, saying please and thank you, and whatever else you come to do to live the life God created you for. We’re all brothers and sisters on this “family vacation” we cal life.
Can you find any glimpses of God’s Kingdom in the Magical Kingdom? Absolutely! We were all made in God’s image. God wants us to be happy. If having a tea party with the princesses makes you happy, that’s fantastic! Just don’t make idols out of the those things. Realize it’s not the temporary getaway that has a lasting happiness. It’s the other Kingdom that will give us ever lasting joy.