My two year old son has been obsessed with Frozen lately. He loves Olaf, who he calls Oflaf, and regularly asks to watch Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, the short Christmas-themed film from two years ago which follows Olaf on a search for Christmas traditions he can bring back to Elsa and Anna. Even though we’re into February, it’s still something he asks for every day. It’s mostly my fault. When Frozen II came out, I really wanted to see it. I really loved the first one with the theme of Elsa learning to accept herself instead of “concealing and not feeling and putting on a show.” It’s a story that I think resonates with a lot of LGBT folks. I took my son to see Frozen II last week, just in the nick of time as it’s about to leave theatres. I made the mistake of miscalculating the amount of time for trailers, and with things running way too close to nap time, he couldn’t make it all the way through the movie. Halfway through he stood up and declared “all done!” and demanded that we leave at once. After a bit of a meltdown when I took too long to head his request, we headed to the lobby to see what could be done. They were kind enough to give us a refund so we could come back to see it, I really wanted to know how it ended. When I checked the movie times, I realized that after nap time was the last possible chance to see it because it was no longer on the schedule the next day.
I’m really glad we made it back, not just because it was the first feature film kiddo had ever sat through, but because of the beautiful story. His cheers from the parking lot of “Frozen! Frozen!” after the movie expressed both of our feelings of delight. When the album was released last year, I put the Frozen II soundtrack on repeat on Apple Music and found myself loving the songs even more than the first film. It’s been six years since the first film premiered and the characters have grown up in that time. If the first film was about Elsa’s journey to accept herself, the second could be summarized as Elsa’s search for her calling in life. Both of these themes resonate deep within me, not only for my story, but the story I share as a pastor each time we gather in worship.
I won’t give too much away, but the film opens with Elsa hearing a literal voice calling to her from the far lands of the north. She tries to ignore but decides she must follow it. Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven join her as she goes “Into the Unknown” to find where that voice will lead her. When she finally discovers the source of that calling, she sings my favorite song from the film, “Show Yourself,” which I think is a bit underrated. It’s not the power ballad which earned awards nominations, but instead serves as the emotional climax of Elsa’s narrative arc. There’s one line sung to Elsa which makes me well up with emotion every time: “You are the one you’ve been waiting for all of your life.” On her quest to find answers as to why she has her powers, she discovers that she is exactly who she was created to be. Her call in life is to live into that truth for she has all the answers she needs.
This idea is a deep part of my theology. Our God created us with intention with the gifts we need to follow the Spirit. So often, the Church gives us the identity of “Sinner” requiring something of us before we can be called “Beloved.” That kind of language around identity is so harmful for many. Our God loves us first. Yes, we fall short and sin surrounds us from birth, but that’s not who we are. We are God’s beloved creation, given breath, given meaning, given life. The world tells them that they are not good enough, that something is missing. This turns people toward a quest to find what’s missing. Some turn to things which are harmful, we see this in patterns of addiction which are so hard to break. Others search for power to find meaning in their lives. What if we all received the message that Elsa did? “You are the one you’ve been waiting for.”
Your Creator has, out of a deep love, made you to be exactly who you are. Your calling is to use exactly who you are to respond to that love by sharing it with others. That’s the best way I can summarize the way of love. We are created in love and we must respond in love. It’s that simple. Yes, life gets more complicated than that, but that’s so often because of our own junk getting in the way. We are each on a journey of discovering how we are called to love others. The world needs a message of love which drowns out the voices of hate, the voices which say we are not enough as we are. All of this doesn’t mean we don’t need God, quite the opposite. It is in recognizing ourself as created that we see the Creator and our need for a relationship with our Divine Parent. May we, like Elsa, “step into the power,” and show ourselves to the world so that the Way of Love might be revealed again and again. This is your Sacred Place.