“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” Romans 5:20
“Sin boldly, but believe….more boldly” Martin Luther
I promised myself I would see Frozen. I was not disappointed. There have been a few things out there about how Disney gave us good theology, at least for Disney. I won’t repeat that, though I will point you to a recent post by Micahel Belote in reboot Christianity that addresses the matter rather nicely. What I really want to do is concentrate on one thing in the matter…..the bold sin of Elsa.
If you’ve not seen Frozen I will spare you the plot, but I will tell you the character of Elsa is the wholly tragic and totally depraved sinner eventually saved by a selfless act of love. Her tragedy and depravity come to a head in a single act of childhood play. Here Elsa moves from the realm of sin as a state (depravity) to sin as a particular action. To prevent any future occurrences of particular sin, Elsa takes on the shackles of legalism bound by the thought that such a thing not only takes away the potential for particular sins, but gives her the control of her sinful state. Her particular form of legalism is one of locking herself in a castle and avoiding life with all of its potential for sin (and grace) so that no other person may be a victim of her “cursed” gift. For years she keeps it in check until that day when she repeats her “sin,” this time on a grander scale.
If a castle cannot contain her sin, Elsa feels a mountain distant from all human contact will. With this in mind she flees to her high place. The thing about mountains is they lead to mountaintop experiences and Elsa has hers when she realizes that her salvation cannot be had from the control of her gift. She gets half of the equation right in realizing legalism cannot save her.
Unfortunately Elsa, having dismissed the illusion of legalism, still does not know grace. She acknowledges her bold sinning, but cannot yet believe “more boldly still” in an abounding grace. Her belief and the grace-filled act that saves her occurs only when she does what prophets do and comes down from the mountain. It occurs in Frozen’s “theology of the cross” moment when her sister Anna shirks the Disney formula of “eros” to take up “agape.” In a single act Elsa comes to believe and death as well as the cold are told they cannot have the day. This message of grace that overcomes the law is reason enough to see the movie.
“Here I stand.” Elsa casts off the works righteousness of legailsm
However if you need more reasons to see Frozen, let me add
- It Breaks the Disney Formula of a Kiss: This post was about Elsa, but the movie is actually more about Princess Anna. Unlike Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel, this Disney princess cares as much about family as romance.
- Sisterhood: I’m one of those guys who like the traditional “brothers in arms” kind of movie, but you can’t argue with a good flick about the love between two women.
- Lovely Winter: If you read my blog with any frequency you will know I disdain the winter, but I will be the first to admit I’ve never seen snow and ice so beautiful as in this movie.
- This Movie is a Love Story: A snowman is willing to melt, a mountain man knowing he is no prince is willing to allow his princess to be with a man who is a prince, and a woman puts her sister’s life above her own….there is no love like selfless love.
- All’s Well That Ends Well: Its Disney, so if for no other reason see it for its enchanted kingdom and a Prince Charming or rather a Princess Charming who makes everything right.
Image: This is a low resolution image of Disney’s Frozen poster to promote the film. It has been used here for illustrative purposes only and is believed to be fair use.