Have you seen The Greatest Showman? If not, then you should! Not only is it a beautiful, colorful cinematic display, but the music is inspiring and the choreography is spectacularly woven through the beat of the music. I have seen it twice and it gave me goosebumps both times.
One of the things I loved about this movie was a couple of running themes throughout. The first one was the theme of inclusion. Taking the marginalized and neglected and giving them a place to belong…a home to call their own and a family to care for and love them in their uniqueness. While some would argue that they were exploited…and indeed, it was that to some extent because of the misdirected focus of Barnum, but the circus became a place of belonging for the performers. A place of safety. A place they could be who they truly are and still be accepted.
This inclusiveness is the gracious way Jesus demonstrated in His life. He called fishermen and tax collectors to be his disciples. He talked to women because they were important. He went to the home of sinners and ate with them. He welcomed children into His lap. He healed the outcasts and touched the untouchables. He loved each and every one, just as we should.
The beautiful theme of inclusion should be a running theme in our life.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
The second theme I saw was the theme of the prodigal losing his way and returning home. Poor Barnum. He had such dreams of being significant. Of being someone that people respected and looked up to. In his success, he lost his way. He had everything – a family, money, a great house, a group of people who relied on him and loved him. And yet it wasn’t enough.
Barnum wanted more. He wanted to earn the respect of high society…those who looked down on his father and him his whole life. He wanted to prove his worth to these people who considered anyone different to be beneath them. So he took his wealth and sunk it all into promoting a world-class singer, making a name for himself. He is seduced by the glamour and the fame.
Yet when tempted by her, the singer, he wakes up, stands firm and returns home – and loses everything in the process. She walks out on the tour and he loses his money, his home, and ultimately his family. The circus building burns to the ground and he is utterly lost.
There is a scene where he is drinking alone in a bar during the middle of the day. His troupe walks in, surrounding him, reminding him of why he started the circus, reminding him of the family he created and the home he had provided.
He was welcomed back into the family with open arms and loving hearts. And the rejoicing!!!! Whew! What a dance of celebration!
And don’t worry, the family is reunited as well. The wife is a beautiful picture of the Father figure in the prodigal story. She is there to tell him all she ever wanted was to be with him. To have a place in his life. To be loved by him.
And isn’t that a beautiful picture of God and His desire for us? He just wants to be in relationship with Him. To love Him and want to be with Him.
So if I haven’t totally ruined the story for you, I urge you to go and see The Greatest Showman. It is well worth the money! Let me know what you think about it!