Saturday, June 22, 2013

Good Grief

Valentine’s Day is this week and while romance is certainly in the air, for me it’s also an excuse to sit around the television with the kids and share one of my great loves….Charlie Brown & Snoopy. Snoopy, Woodstock, Linus, Lucy, and even Peppermint Patty….I love them all and every holiday brings another excuse to follow their adventures. It should be no secret to any of us that who we are today is because of what we were yesterday. From the moment we were born every action, reaction, and circumstance has combined to form the people we are today and can be seen by everything we do. With this in mind it should be no surprise that hidden not so deep in the adventures of a Boy named Charlie Brown and his faithful dog Snoopy, Charles Shulz’s can clearly be seen.

In an interview Shulz told the story of how he found God “My mother died the week I was drafted….before going into the Armed Forces I met a minister…he simply walked into my father’s barbershop one day…we chose him to do mother’s funeral and after coming back from the Army, I began to attend services at his church….we had an active group of young people all in our twenties and we began studying the Bible together. The more I thought about the matter during those study times the more I realized I really loved God. I realized he had pulled me through a depression in which I had been torn apart from everything I knew and that he had enabled me to survive so many experiences.” He was also quoted as saying “if you do not say anything in a cartoon, you might as well not draw it at all. Humor which does not say anything is worthless. So I contend that a cartoonist must be given a chance to do his own preaching”.

Charles Shulz has a message and like a preacher taking his pulpit every morning he has delivered that message since October 2nd 1950. Even since his passing in February of 2000, that message is still being sent daily all over the world.

In the books Parables of the Peanuts and The Gospel According To Peanuts, Robert Short translates the messages hidden in Peanuts Comic Strips and shows us exactly what their creator was passing along to the world every morning over coffee and toast.

If Charlie Brown has one catch phrase, it’s “Good Grief”. Every time that tree eats his kite, Snoopy wakes him in the middle of the night for a bowl of food, or Lucy pulls that football, Charlie picks himself back up and with a “Good Grief” he moves on. Like the little round headed kid with the crazy dog he created, Shulz knew there was such a thing as good grief.

Lucy Ups Ups Ups Strip. Lucy doesn’t seem to understand that in order ultimate appreciate what is about to come, there must be some hard times along the way. In Romans 6:6-8 Paul answers Lucy’s question by saying “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we sill also live with him.”

Snoopy Snow Strip. No matter how bad things are they could get worse and will soon better. Job 33:29-30 “God indeed does all these things, twice, three times, with mortals, to bring back their souls from the Pit, so that they may see the light of life”

Finally we see this again when Linus loses a ball in the weeds. Life is not fair. It’s not easy. And at times we must struggle. We must be brought to our knees so that we can appreciate that sacrifice made on the cross and the rewards that await us when we give out life to Christ. As it says in Romans 8:18 “I consider that the suffering of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.”

Grief is good. Matthew 11:28 “come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Charles Schulz knew this. He read the words from 1 Corinthians 9:16 “For an obligation is laid upon me and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel” and showed his love for Christ through the adventures of a little round headed boy and his goofy dog. He taught the world the Gospel of Christ one hand drawn frame at a time.