Fixer-Uppers

My family has fallen into a bit of a pattern on Saturday mornings. We wake up, get ready, go to the farmers market, buy what we need including breakfast and, more importantly, coffee, and then head back home. Once home we normally eat our breakfast while watching a Disney movie.

Throwing on a movie felt like a cop-out when we did this, but it’s turned into a good routine. My wife and I are able to get a bit of work done around the house, touch up our sermons when they need it (which is probably every week!), or just lounge around and relax. 

The problem is all those movies have catchy songs! After the movie is over I still find myself humming later in the day. They are either the best or the worst earworms, boring into the recesses of your brain only to annoyingly emerge hours after the fact. 

But there are some hidden gems among the famous ones. One of my favorites comes from the movie Frozen, and no, it’s not “Let it Go.”

It’s the song Kristoff’s family, trolls actually, sings. They find their long-lost “son” has come back with a girl, Anna, and immediately jump to try to convince her to overlook his flaws. He’s a “fixer-upper,” but that’s okay!

The bridge is where the song really shines. I’m going to alternate the lyrics with a bit of commentary: 

“We’re not sayin’ you can change him
‘Cause people don’t really change
We’re only saying that love’s a force
That’s powerful and strange”

This reveals a remarkable anthropology, or view of humanity. Usually, with Disney, you assume humans are capable of anything, but the trolls know reality; it’s hard for humans to change, nigh impossible. We might change a thing or two in our arsenal, but more often than not we are still the same person on the inside as we’ve always been. The one thing that can change us is love, but not necessarily the “love” they are singing about. 

“People make bad choices
If they’re mad, or scared, or stressed
Throw a little love their way
Throw a little love their way
And you’ll bring out their best
True love brings out the best”

Sin is easier when the conditions are right. “Mad, or scared, or stressed” is an apt description of when we are most apt to fall into it. And really, if we don’t experience love then we will continue to muck our way through the world making “bad choices” left and right. Getting a little love thrown our way assuredly will bring out the best in us because it comes from One outside us. True love has the power to change humanity, to move it from death to life. 

“Everyone’s a bit of a fixer-upper
That’s what it’s all about
Father!
Sister!
Brother!
We need each other
To raise us up and round us out”

I don’t know if there is a better description of the Church than here. Instead of being a museum for saints its a hospital for sinners where “everyone’s a bit of a fixer-upper.” But despite that, we are still members of the Body of Christ. The Body needs all of us because it’s not complete without one another. Indeed, “We need each other to raise us up and round us out.” 

“Everyone’s a bit of a fixer-upper
But when push comes to shove
The only fixer-upper fixer
That can fix up a fixer-upper is
true love!”

And here is the real honesty about humanity. The only thing that can deal with Sin and the Fall, what makes us “fixer-uppers” is true love. Instead of being love between people, true love really is the One-Way love of God toward sinners. Our scripture from Sunday says it best: In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10) Experiencing the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God, love in other words, changes us from the inside out.

Sure, we will always be “fixer-uppers” on this side of God’s kingdom, but that’s why we are placed into the Church. Together, we build each other up. And together, we see God’s love in action.

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