When I was a child, The Muppet Show was a weekend highlight. I loved the quirkiness and zaniness of these puppets (and considering so many famous stars queued up to appear on the show, presumably I wasn’t the only one who loved them!) It was with child-like enthusiasm (and a fair amount of adult trepidation) that I went to see the new Muppets film during the half-term holiday.

I needn’t have worried. The film had all the quirkiness and zaniness that I remembered so fondly. Kermit the frog was still there, and Miss Piggy came back from la belle France (where much to my delight, she was known as Mademoiselle Cochonnet, presumably before the recent edict to remove the apparently sexist Mademoiselle from the French language came into effect!) to help save the theatre from destruction by the slimy oil tycoon Tex Richman (love the name!) The stars continued to help out (Jack Black somewhat reluctantly, all trussed up in Gulliver-fashion!) and it was a real feel-good film.

Towards the end of the film, as brothers Gary and Walter have to decide their individual destinies, they sing a song (which has just won an Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’ in a film, much to my delight.) The song asks the question ‘Am I a man or am I a muppet?’ The chorus goes:

“Am I man or am I a muppet?
If I’m a muppet, then I’m a very manly muppet!
Am I a muppet or am I man?
If I’m a man, that makes me a muppet of a man!”

You can watch the video and listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WWWTW1P8rQ

You may think that all that has very little to do with a church blog! But as I watched the film and listened to the dialogue as Walter wrestled with his identity and wondered what his talents were, as I listened to this question wondering who we really are, I didn’t think that was so far from the daily questions I ask myself as I wrestle with the flesh and the Spirit and wonder who I really am.

Casting Crowns have released a song called ‘East to West’ which talks about the struggles we have sometimes in finding our God-given identity and in making God’s forgiveness real. These words capture the struggle I sometimes find:

“I start the day, the war begins
Endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I’m in.
Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way.”

As we live each day, sometimes the ‘old man’, the way of the flesh Paul talks so vividly about in Romans 7, seems to rise up and cause us to stumble:
“I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again.”

It’s a daily battle at times to remind ourselves of God’s Word and live by the truth of His word rather than by our feelings or by what others think of us (Walter in the film worries about this a lot!):
“I know You’ve washed me white
Turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through this night
I can’t live by what I feel
But by the truth Your word reveals
I’m not holding onto You,
But You’re holding onto me.” (Casting Crowns, ‘East to West’)

Kermit gives Walter wise advice in the film, telling him that “That’s what growing up is: deciding who you want to be.” Casting Crowns remind us that our identity ultimately is in Christ. There is hope and forgiveness and a new identity in Him:
“I don’t have to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again.
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
‘Cos You know just how far the east is from the west,
From one scarred hand to the other.

‘East to West’

Let’s be who God made us to be!