Hook and Grace
A Kindred Story by Kaleigh Hamilton-Bishop
The movie Hook has to be one of my favorite movies of all time. If you haven’t seen it then you are missing out on one of life’s greatest treasures, and I pity you. Beyond being just an all-around fantastic movie, Hook also gives us one of the most profound illustrations of grace that I’ve ever seen in a movie where a man wears makeup and tights. Just be patient with me here.
For those of you who are living in Neverland ignorance, let me give you a little bit of context. Hook is a story about what happens to Peter Pan when he grows up. The story begins with a grown Peter — married with two children and highly successful in his career as a lawyer. We recognize almost immediately that the problem for Peter is that he has lost sight of who he is. He’s lost his identity, he’s forgotten his childhood, and he definitely doesn’t believe in magic or pixie dust anymore. But Neverland has not forgotten Peter, and his old nemesis Captain Hook abducts Peter’s children leaving a ransom note behind. With the help of Tinker Bell, Peter finds himself back in Neverland to fight Hook for his children, but Peter is unable to believe in himself and therefore he is unable to fight for his children. Angry and broken, Peter goes to stay with the Lost Boys.
Peter is invited to eat at a large table with the Lost Boys all around him. The boys are excited for dinner and chatter enthusiastically when covered platters begin to arrive. Lids are removed with a flourish to reveal…absolutely nothing. There’s not a single scrap of food visible on the platters, yet the boys are going ballistic, grabbing, and stuffing things into their mouths like they’re at the greatest banquet of all time. Peter is hungry, lost, and confused, seemingly sitting at a feast with no food.
How often do we as Christians find ourselves sitting confused and hungry, just like Peter? Walking through the motions of life without truly living in our identity as a child of God, full of grace and truth? We know God loves us, we know He redeemed us and saved us, He’s invited us to the table, yet we’re like Peter; simply existing in our world, having somehow forgotten who we are, whose we are, and what we’ve been given: grace, unending, without border, free for any who will accept it.
Do you remember when Jesus saved you? When He came into your world, forever changing your heart, and upending everything you ever thought you knew? I’m sure you can think of a moment like that in your life. The wonderful, unbelievable, amazing thing about Jesus is that He wants to continue to have moments like that in your life, for the rest of your life. John 1:16 says, “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given (NIV).” Jesus is not asking you to exist on that one moment of salvation, although just that would be more than we could have ever asked for. No, He wants to heap grace upon even more grace and LIVE in relationship with you!
Mercy is the act of showing forgiveness towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish. God shows us mercy when He forgives our sins and withholds the punishment that we so deserve, separation from Him for all of eternity. Grace is defined as unmerited favor. As in, there is absolutely nothing you could ever do to earn or deserve God’s grace, yet He gives it freely. Mercy is not getting what you deserve; grace is getting what you do not deserve.
You have been redeemed, forgiven, and claimed as a child of God. Your identity can never tarnish, never be taken, never be mistaken. God takes this gift even one step further into the unimaginable. You have been invited to a table with a feast that is beyond anything you could ever hope for. But like Peter Pan, we sometimes forget the amazing gift that we have been given, this life of grace. We sit at the Father’s table, grateful yes, but also a little confused, a little uncomfortable, a little hungry.
But, just like us, Peter eventually realizes what is in front of him. What happens in his story makes me tear up every time. He is sitting at the table confused and frustrated, but at the last of himself, he finally chooses to believe — despite obvious obstacles, despite what his eyes are telling him — and suddenly he is surrounded by an amazing banquet. He is no longer sitting at a feast with no food; he has joined in and he sees what was there the whole time.
And just like Peter; and just like the man in Mark 9, the Lord is simply waiting for our hearts to cry out “I believe! But help my unbelief.” Immediately His grace falls down, crashing over us, flowing from us and through us.
I encourage you today to step fully into relationship with Christ. Don’t just exist; LIVE in grace! You’ve been invited to the table. Now come and eat.