Friday, December 22, 2006

Night at the Museum

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” Matt. 5:9

In Night at the Museum, a truly fun popcorn flick, the new museum night guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) discovers an unknown world at the museum in the midnight hour.

The premise of this movie is that, because of an Egyptian curse of some sort, everything in the museum comes to life in the middle of the night, from the towering Tyrannosaurus Rex in the lobby to the smallest monkeys in the Africa exhibit hall.

Daley is set up to fail at this daunting (and very strange) task, but how he handles himself is both fun to watch and inspirational to anyone confronted with an unknown danger. Our hero is the victim of typical passive aggressive behavior, which is so rampant in our society today. It is true that people in our century are more civil to each other, but even though many of us would prefer to avoid conflict, we still resort to passive aggressive tendencies to assert ourselves. The retiring museum guards, Daley’s ex-wife, and even Daley himself are all passively aggressive to each other in an irritating cycle.

And what about the unwieldy situation Daley is put in each night at his job? The dinosaurs, Huns, miniature cowboys, Romans, and Mayans, cavemen, Civil War soldiers, Egyptian guards, and African animals, among other creatures, are all out to destroy one another each evening. They are anything but passive, but they are certainly aggressive.

Not only must Daley navigate his own passive aggressive issues, but he must figure out a way to stop the museum inhabitants from internal combustion.

The gospel challenges us to rise above the conflicts (passive and pro-active alike). “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus told us. “…for they will be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9). Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) reminds Daley that he has been thrust into the role of being a peacemaker, and in a way, Jesus reminds us in the Scriptures that each one of us are offered this role by our God.

Will we accept this role and rise above petty conflicts, or will be succumb to the whims of the world and keep on completing the cycle of passive aggressive behavior? Daley wanted to run away, but choose wisely not to give up. We, too, want to run away from such a daunting task (over the centuries, so many of his disciples have fled from being a peacemaker), but I believe Christ holds out hope for us.

Will we rise to that challenge or will we run from our greatness? We may not be called to wrangle dinosaurs and cowboys, but we are called to rise above aggressiveness in all its forms and help others make peace. Then and only then will we be called “the children of God.”

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