Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Whom shall you worship?

From a very interesting comparison of the very different messages conveyed by L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and the recent film version
.... There is a great question behind both the book and the movie: whom shall you worship? The movie answers: yourself; the universe; you must find out that these are the same thing, and that this All, which is really you, is where your help comes from. “I am part of the Universe!” exclaims Oprah in the movie.

The lyrics of the final song over the credits perfectly encapsulate this message: “Today I saw a rainbow in the rain / It told me I can do anything / If I believe in me,” Demi sings. And then the chant before the chorus: “I can, I can, I will, I will / I am, I am, no fear, no fear.” Learn to take on yourself the name of God, the I AM, and you have learned the lesson of the movie version.

It is precisely the opposite of the message of the book. And this is why, while Jennifer Lee’s version of perennialism seems to mirror L’Engle’s, it does not.

Just before the children hear the winged creatures singing on Uriel, Mrs. Whatsit transforms.
“Now, don’t be frightened, loves,” Mrs. Whatsit said. Her plump little body began to shimmer, to quiver, to shift. The wild colors of her clothes became muted, whitened. The pudding-bag shape stretched, lengthened, merged. And suddenly before the children was a creature more beautiful than any Meg had even imagined, and the beauty lay in far more than the outward description. Outwardly Mrs. Whatsit was surely no longer a Mrs. Whatsit. She was a marble-white body with powerful flanks, something like a horse but at the same time completely unlike a horse, for from the magnificently modeled back sprang a nobly formed torso, arms, and a head resembling a man’s, but a man with a perfection of dignity and virtue, an exaltation of joy such as Meg had never before seen. No, she thought, it’s not like a Greek centaur. Not in the least.

From the shoulders slowly a pair of wings unfolded, wings made of rainbows, of light upon water, of poetry.

Calvin fell to his knees.

“No,” Mrs. Whatsit said, though her voice was not Mrs. Whatsit’s voice. “Not to me, Calvin. Never to me. Stand up.”
The first time that Scripture is quoted in the book is thus in response to an implied question: to whom, then? The centaur's answer:
Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift their voice; let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord!