There is a scene in one of my favorite movies, A Goofy Movie, in which Max, a teenager, is taken much to his chagrin by his father, Goofy, to a rundown roadside attraction known as “Lester’s ‘Possom Park.” After enduring a very cringe-worthy animatronic performance in which the audience is encouraged to yodel along with Lester, Max finds himself left alone while his father explores the souvenir station.
In that unguarded moment, Max is greeted by Lester, the tall costumed opossum (think Chuck E. Cheese meets Barney the Dinosaur), who enthusiastically asks Max:
“Who’s your favorite ‘possum?”
Max, not at all interested in reciprocating Lester’s playfulness, plainly tells him:
“Don’t . . . touch me.”
Of course, this leads Lester to give Max a huge hug in hopes of cheering him up. The scene climaxes with Max slapping the opossum caricature hard enough to make his costume head spin 180 degrees to the rear, while in the same moment defiantly ordering Lester to: “Beat it, doofus!” The child entertainer staggers off into the background, unable to see, where he is taken down and dragged away by a gang of enthralled children.
It’s my favorite scene in the movie, and I think of it often in the church because I assume many men think of the pastor, and maybe even Christ himself as a Lester-like figure who is desperate for our attention and eager to give us a big, unwanted hug. Anything to get us to smile and play along.
I am grateful my pastors are not Lesters, and hilarious as the scene is, it saddens me to think of the men who mistake Christ, as I once did, for something closer to that of Lester the ‘Possum than to that of a military commander.
Christ is most certainly compassionate and hospitable, and I have no doubt that he gives the best hugs. But he is not merely an entertainer in search of our shallow affection. He is the eternal authority, and his return will not include playful yodeling.
I encourage you to watch…