Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Kites and Commandments

(Guest post by Russell)

Mary Poppins is a beloved story of a British nanny with special powers coming to help the Banks children. The movie was enjoyable for me as I was growing up. I loved the combination of live action and cartoon animation. Dick Van Dyke was great alongside Julie Andrews in the cast, and the music was wonderful. From “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (I had to look it up to get it spelled right) to “Step in Time,” there are a number of musical numbers that bring back a host of childhood memories. There are simple things throughout the movie that bring joy to children, such as feeding the birds, looking up chimneys, and dancing with penguins. At the end of the movie, Mr. Banks, the changed banker, takes his children, Jane and Michael, out to fly a kite. I love seeing all the kites flying around in the final scenes of the movie, and they set a beautiful backdrop against which Mary Poppins flies off into the distance.

A kite is able to fly because of the air differential between the bottom and top of the kite, allowing lift to be created. The string that attaches the kite to the person on the ground provides stability that allows the kite to fly. That string may seem restrictive and to be holding the kite back from going even higher; however, if that string were cut, the kite might fly on its own for a short time, but eventually it will fall. With the string and proper weather conditions, the kite can continue flying for long periods of time.

Likewise, the Lord gives us commandments, which allow us to figuratively fly. They might seem restrictive and like they are holding us back, but in reality, they give us the framework that allows us to remain aloft. It’s been said that God binds us to set us free while Satan sets us free to bind us. This is very apparent in the interactions that Alma has with Korihor. In Alma 30:13, Korihor asks, “O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come.” In keeping with our kite analogy, Korihor is asking, “Why are you letting yourself be tied by that silly string?” Alma bears powerful testimony in the ensuing verses, but the most telling verses are Alma 30:59-60:

“And it came to pass that as he went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram—and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead.

"And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.”

In essence, Korihor cut his strings and learned from his own experience this truth: Satan would have us cut ourselves off from the source that gives us the power to keep flying. Following such a course leaves us adrift and perhaps even feeling free for a moment, but eventually–like a kite who’s string has been cut–we fall back down. The truth is we are all going to have days when we “cut” our proverbial kite strings. Fortunately, repentance is one of the greatest gifts we have been given and as many times as we need to, we can start “flying” again. And unlike a kite flown by a mortal person, the one who is holding our figurative strings has a much greater interest in seeing how high we can soar. So, “Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height, Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring!”

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