*general spoiler warning*
I surprised my sister and a good friend at the movie theater tonight after a long and tiring day between general fatigue and a shift at work. Afterwards we ran and hopped and skipped together in the rain, and I full on waltzed through an empty parking garage at 11pm.
We saw Cinderella. I did much more than see a movie, so I'll get the review portion of this post out of the way, in brief.
And yes, I thought Prince Kit was cute. Moving on.
Midway through the film, my mind split off into two veins: one on marriage, and one on marriage.
Let me explain.
Many people are so occupied with gender roles, and breaking them, feminism (the definition of that depends on who you talk to), equality, the works. Some elements, I'm sure, are good. But I feel that many viewpoints (such as calling gentlemanly behavior sexism) go against the biblical "gender roles" and God's perfect will.
Why must the man lead? Why must the woman be submissive? Why are the women pretty and the men strong in such fairytales as this one that I was watching?
As Ella and the Prince performed that breathtakingly beautiful first dance, I answered my own questions. Marriage is, first and foremost, a reflection of Christ's, God's, relationship with us, the church. We are His precious, adorned, beautiful bride, and He is our strong and all-capable head and treasurer.
The godly woman who does the hard thing in submitting to her husband's lead is not squelching the female voice or throwing away the opportunity to prove a point, because life is not about the here and now. Life is about bringing God glory, walking in His ways, because it is He we shall come face to face with when we die. She is being obedient to God; in that obedience, her relationship with God is strengthened (not to mention her marriage, too). And if you don't believe that everything in life is meant to bring us into a closer walk with Christ, I don't know what to tell you.
What God shows us in the Bible of Christ and the Church is a beautiful, beautiful thing, and if the Prince and Ella in this movie gave even the barest hint of the loveliness that we are to be when the Lord comes again, we have much to look forward to.
Which brings me to....
Marriage, regarding the bride of Christ
We are Cinderella.
She is taught to believe in courage, and in being kind; in the power of kindness.
We are taught to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in His sovereignty, to accept salvation.
She spends her whole life practicing that which she is taught.
We ought to be spending out lives practicing what our Lord teaches us in His word.
As she cultivated kindness, we ought to be cultivating it, along with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.
At times, the wicked seem to be better off. Because of our moral uprightness, we suffer. Our kindness and gentleness makes us vulnerable. In our lack of selfishness, we are taken advantage of; because of our love, we experience pain. We are mocked and mistreated and humiliated and made to endure hardship.
Here, the wicked can seem to have a better face than we do.
But who was it, who saw us in our lowliness? Even while we were yet sinners?
None less than a Prince. He who has a throne, and will reign forever and ever.
He spotted us in our humble place among the ashes, even before we knew who He was, and He desired us and pursued us, made a way for us to be with Him.
The wicked, they have their season, their pleasure.
But he, she, who keeps to the Father's word, who believes, who practices what they have been taught - what of them?
Why, they will get to marry the King.
In an advantage over dear Cinderella, we know our ending. We know the answer.
Will He take us as we are?
More than that, He already has, and paid a dear price to have us.
If Cinderella could be so kind and so long suffering out of love for her dead parents, with no foreseeable end, how much more so should we endure and act on that which we have been taught, which we believe, knowing there is such a prize, such a magnificent wedding, such glory ahead?
That question is one for each of us to answer ourselves.