Film Friday: Peter Rabbit

When old Mr McGregor pops his clogs chasing Peter and his sisters (Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail), young Mr McGregor comes out from the city to take up residence. He’s not really that interested in living in the country and tending a flourishing garden, he wants to sell the newly inherited property so he can open up his own toy store. However, first he has to do battle with those pesky rabbits…

This is, as you might expect, a witty tale of slapstick and derring-do. Peter and his friends get into all kinds of scrapes, escaping by the skin of their teeth as they do their best to outwit and oust the new Mr McGregor. Laugh? I’d be chucklingly surprised if you didn’t.

We may not think of the Bible as being full of madcap adventures – but people do get into all kinds of scrapes. Think of poor Joseph, yes the dreamer with the coat. He has fantastic night-time visions of corn and stars bowing down to him – and when he happily announces this to all and sundry he is shocked to find his big brothers think he’s a bit big for his boots. Much plotting and scheming and many ups and downs later and he finds himself in the house of wealthy Potiphar. The tension mounts. Potiphar keeps patting him on the back thinking he’s the bees knees, while his wife keeps winking at him, thinking he’d look rather good in bed. Joseph finds himself caught between a good job and a nudge-nudge-wink-wink. Yikes. What to do. When Mrs P throws all subtlety to the wind and lunges for him he has to do a Peter Rabbit type getaway and hurl himself out of the door. Sans shirt!

Cut to a prison. Two others tell him their dreams and the dreamer turns dream-cracker as he has to tell one the good news – yay!… and the other… oh… the bad news. When Joe finally becomes Prime Minister and his brothers come bowing, corn and star style before him, he (and we) have to suppress smiles, as they have no idea who he is – a recipe for some cheeky, prolonged trick-playing. Quite a story. And in amongst it all a powerful kernel of truth. ‘What you intended for harm,’ Joe eventually tells his brothers, ‘God intended for good.’ Right there, amongst the mad-dashing and derring-do, God was at work. Not because everything looked neat and tidy and nice and spiritual. But because he is at work in our madcap lives. We may not have quite the adventures of Peter Rabbit or dreamer Joe, but God’s way has always been to make use of the everyday ups and downs. The unexpected and very human moments. Supremely seen of course in Jesus, fully human, fully alive. Who spent three years making a world-changing ministry out of the interruptions and complications of normal life.

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