When our son, Jack, was young, he was fascinated with the story of Peter Pan. In our house, we watched the Disney version of Peter Pan endlessly; Jack wore his Peter Pan outfits on a regular basis (not just at Halloween). We watched the movie, Finding Neverland, with great interest. I took Jack to the Dallas Summer Musical production of Peter Pan, and he danced in the aisles to the Indian songs. I remember the patron sitting next to me stated, “If the show wasn’t great enough, I would come here just to watch that little boy’s glee!”
What is it that was so fascinating to him, to us all? Peter Pan had a sense of adventure, of curiosity. But the story itself also prompts us to ask a question: “What’s out there for us that we are not expecting?”
Christ’s disciples were just as curious when Jesus rose after his crucifixion. “What now?,” I can imagine them asking themselves? Jesus had prepared them for it, but they just didn’t listen! The Gospel of Luke tells us that “while he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:51) The disciples may not have expected it, but after they witnessed it, they could no longer stay silent about it. It was up to them to continue to tell the story, and to help others find that same sense of adventure, wonderment, and reverence which they had come to know as Jesus.
This last Sunday, I asked my class to close their eyes and imagine the scene of the ascension. One of the ladies in the class told me she couldn’t stop thinking of Peter Pan, and imagined the stars – particularly, the second star to the right. Isn’t that fitting? No, Peter Pan and Jesus are two very different things – one is a character, one is divine, the Son of God. But when he ascended, Jesus rose to sit at the right hand of God. From Disney’s song “Second Star to the Right:” (by Sammy Fain and Sammy Cohn)
The second star to the right
Shines with a light that’s rare.
And if it’s Never Land you need
Its light will lead you there.
I need Neverland. And, like my friend in class, I see Jesus, that rare light, shining there. What about you?
Image Source: Michael Llewelyn Davies dressed as Peter Pan and photographed by J. M. Barrie at Rustington, August 1906 [public domain]