• Jaime Hilton

Gospel Story Echoes...in Onward

Disney has done it again: taken an old classic, or in this case, elements of the old classics, and given them a twist so they fit in the modern world.


Onward, the latest release from Pixar (available on Disney Plus thanks to the #coronavirus), tells the story of an enchanted place full of magic and creatures associated with magic who have disconnected from their roots as they’ve grown comfortable with the ease of advancing technology. There’s an interesting metaphor right there. The more modern our society becomes, the more we separate ourselves from faith and spirituality.


Warning: spoilers ahead.


Two things stuck out to me as clear Gospel echoes. The first, when Ian Lightfoot must use magic to cross the bottomless pit, is a beautiful picture of faith. Barley, Ian’s bumbling but lovable brother, tells him he must believe with every step! It reminded me of Peter walking on the water. When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he lost faith and sank beneath the waves. During this season of uncertainty and social distancing I have truly felt the minute by minute need to believe with each step!


The second Gospel echo came when Ian started crossing off everything he wanted to do with his dad.


Quick recap: Ian and Barley, teenage elves, lost their father to illness. Barley knew him a little, but Ian never met him. For his 16th birthday, when elves become men, they receive a wizard’s staff and a spell from their father that will allow him to come back for 24 hours so he can see what kind of men his boys have become. Of course, as set up in the premise, magic is difficult to master. The spell goes wrong and they are only able to bring back their dad’s legs. They embark on a quest to find the stone they need to complete the spell and hijinks ensue. As the clock runs down and it seems less and less likely they will succeed, Ian starts to let go of his hopes of completing the list he’d made of things he’s always wanted to do with his dad. With each item on the list he remembers doing these ordinary things with his big brother Barley. He hasn’t missed out on having a Dad after all.


Jesus told his disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)


We get to know the Father through our relationship with the Son.


“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hands. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:35-36


“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9


That is good news worth sharing!



See how the gospel echoes in other stories on the Feature page of AlltheWorldaStage


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Life...Faith... and Theatre

“As I listen to the silence, I learn that my feelings about art and my feelings about the Creator of the Universe are inseparable. To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the

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