November Staff Pick

Looking for a good thanks-giving movie?    How about (re-)watching Toy Story as a family devotional! Start with a passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:4-7).

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.      (NRSV)

We could call that passage Joy Story, as it is filled with thanksgiving, peace and joy.   But, Joy Story and Toy Story remind us we all have worries and anxieties.  Just for the fun of it, why not name some of the worries that Woody has. And how about Buzz? You could probably even identify with T-Rex, Mr. Potato Head and some of the others as they let anxiety build. How about you? Do you have some worries similar to any of these characters?

Paul told the Philippians to find some of their Joy Story in humility.   That’s a fun part of Toy Story, too.   Woody and Buzz have conversations about not being ‘Andy’s most favored toy’ (remember what Buzz’s catch phrase is?).   But how does Woody remind Buzz that he is not JUST a toy, but something special?

Hey! Here a question that makes a Christian leap! How does that sound like what happens in our baptism?   Whose name are we ‘marked’ with in baptism?   What does this mean for us to be God’s joy?

What things could Woody and Buzz be thankful for by the end of the movie?  And you?

Paul reminds us that this pattern of finding ourselves in the Lord’s Joy Story brings us that peace of God surpassing understanding.   Or, could we say, to eternity and beyond.

For even more conversation:
  • What are some of the ways Buzz and Woody learn they’ve Got A Friend in each other?
  • Does it sometimes involve both a strong and gentle attitude?
  • How about with God and us?
  • Discuss how Woody (and others) become involved in a mission of ‘redeeming’ toys who have lost their identity.
  • Do we know people who have been broken or abused, and may need to be reminded of their part in God’s Joy Story?

November’s Staff Pick was written by Rev. John Gosswein. John is currently retired and lives in Kearney, NE.