There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of everyday
There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow’s just a dream away
These optimistic song lyrics are used in the Disneyland attraction “Innoventions” a place where Disney tries to show the power of innovation and invention. The song refers to the hopeful view of the future, the thought that tomorrow (the future) is brighter when people dream up possibility and pursue it.
Today I went and saw the movie “Tomorrowland” named after the area in Disneyland where tomorrow is possible today. When Walt Disney thought up Disneyland he wanted to bring in some of his nostalgia from better, simpler days and team it up with the seemingly limitless possibility of the future.
“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here, age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”
-Walt Disney (Opening Day Speech)
You see Walt was a dreamer and he believed that our world, though marred by human failings had the possibility for better, evidenced in the good of the past and the possibility of the future. The movie’s premise followed this line of thinking, that with the combined efforts of the hardworking, diligent, and hopeful people of the world we could create a better tomorrow.
Without giving too much of the plot away, the movies focuses on a young dreamer and an old disillusioned inventor who are brought together by a recruiter, someone who’s job was to bring people to Tomorrowland, in order to see the promise of the future continue. While watching the movie I was enamored with the whimsical technology of the future, I was more enraptured with the themes the movie laid out.
Simply put, our world is broken, all around there are natural disasters and human induced destruction, and the idea that there might be this better world if we truly tried. The greatest point that the movie brought forth was that this glittering possible future wasn’t made with great strides of science but rather created in the small hopeful actions played out each day. It was the daily persistence of doing simple and small good that would change the world.
One of the most memorable scenes is when one character, who has lost all hope, explains incredulously how when faced with the daily omens of destruction and death, humanity has quit; people have given up trying and have welcomed their fate of destruction. This pivotal scene sold me on the movie. I love movies that have a hopeful message of human dedication to do good turning the tide and here was that poignant point. When we daily decide to turn away from apathy, from the resignation that the world just is awful, and pursue what we can do today, then tomorrow seems that much more brighter.
And here is where the message coalesces for me. Throughout the Bible there is mention of the Kingdom of God, that place where God reigns and there is no more pain or fear. In many of my college classes we learned about the characteristics of the Kingdom in what one of my professors dubbed “Kingdom Culture” and how we are to live as if we live in that kingdom. Studying this subject we come across the phrase “now but not yet” which talks about God’s kingdom. One day Jesus will return and take us to a new earth, a new home, paradise. In that paradise, that kingdom, there is a way of living, where there is no lying, no cheating, no hurting, no hating, no pain, etc. Basically a world devoid of bad.
Because Jesus died on the cross for wrongs he did not commit and then rose back from the dead, we can choose that life. We can choose the life of someone redeemed, not broken. We can accept it in part, because we are still on earth, but if we accept that life one day we will continue living with God in paradise. While we are still here, we live as much as we can of that paradise by following God’s way, taking his perspective, his perspective of hope, of grace, and most importantly love. So while we are still here, we can live like we live in that paradise, as if the paradise is here. Gradually, as we tell others of paradise, more can join in this mission of living in paradise now. It won’t be complete yet, but we can live as if it is now.
This is the hope of following Christ. Living in creation as he planned it. This is what I saw and learned again in watching this movie. My part is to daily live as if I live in paradise, as if that is the destination I am headed to. I live that in the small things, the daily interactions with my world. Slowly, the hope is that others will focus less on the destruction and terror and more on the potential of what tomorrow can hold.