Remy the Rat from Ratatouille
Posted January 25, 2022
The 2007 animated movie “Ratatouille” is a family favorite in our house. We watch it every summer in Maine and it continues to entertain and enchant us. If you are not familiar with the story, “Ratatouille” is an underdog tale of a country rat with a gift for Haute Cuisine who becomes a celebrity chef in Paris with the help of a hapless mop boy. As absurd as it sounds, and as weird as that pitch meeting must have been, the result is delightful.
My favorite artistic touch in the movie happens whenever Remy, the titular rat voiced by Patton Oswalt, combines new flavors together and enters an ecstatic state. The animators use brush strokes and eruptions of different colors against a black background and the music changes to Jazz of the bebop era. Remy is transported by the way cheese, bread and fennel blend together and produce a delicious surprise.
Remy’s experience of food is my experience of the Bible. I am transported, enchanted, delighted by the wonderful ways different texts in the Bible speak to each other and open up God’s character and will for us. I started reading the Bible with the seriousness of a disciple when I was 18 years old. Now, 37 years later, the books of the Bible still sing to me and surprise me. One would think that the same old stories read over and over again would grow stale. Not at all. On the contrary, these books that give us the story of our God reveal new depths and richness with each new reading.
Last Sunday, we had a wonderful combination of lectionary readings including Nehemiah, 1 Corinthians, Psalm 19 and Luke. The richness of these texts separately and combined is almost too much for me sometimes. Indeed, in my preaching I try to stay focused on the texts, because what they have to say is much more lasting and important than what I have to say. Psalm 19 is, as CS Lewis said, among the most beautiful poetry of the ancient world. The psalm sings the praises of God as creator and giver of the Torah, the God who creates and even more wonderfully restores us for rejoicing in God’s presence. Nehemiah included a favorite verse: “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” My goodness, do we need that reminder when we have many good reasons for sorrow and we are tempted by despair.
God opens our hearts to live in the pain and joy of heartfelt loving care for all God has made. When we live in that open hearted place with God the colors are bright and the score is bebop.
Tags: Biblical Studies / Worship / Clergy & Staff