A Celebration of Family: Where Life Begins and Love Never Ends
By Sonja Mitchell
“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” -Ruth 1:16-17 NIV
1) The importance of family
2) First impressions are not always correct
3) The transforming power of love
At the beginning of the movie, Experiment 626 (Stitch) is brought in as evidence in a hearing against a scientist, Dr. Jumba Jookiba, for illegal genetic experiments. 626 is an aggressive creature that is nearly indestructible, and learns rather quickly, due to their technology. The scientist is put in prison, and 626 is to be exiled to an asteroid far away. However during transport, 626 escapes and uses the hyper drive to land on planet Earth. The grand councilwoman had hoped that 626 had something good in him, some redemptive quality, but after he escapes, she decides he has none and orders two agents, Pleakly and Jumba to retrieve him. 626 has survived his escape and has landed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, but gets hit by a truck and loses consciousness. He is taken to an animal shelter because the truck driver believes he is a funny breed of dog.
A stranger in a strange land. This reminds me of the story of Ruth and Naomi from the Bible. Naomi and her husband Elimelech along with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion immigrate to a strange land Moab from their hometown of Bethlehem. Elimelech dies soon after, and their sons marry Moabite women. Mahlon marries Ruth and Chilion marries Orpah. Then Naomi’s two sons die too. She decides to return to Bethlehem and she tells her daughter-in-laws to return to their own families and to remarry. Orpah reluctantly leaves, but Ruth tells her she is staying with her because she is her family now. They both return to Bethlehem and it is the time of the harvest and so Ruth goes off to the fields in able to support herself and Naomi. The field belongs to a man named Boaz, who is kind to her because of her loyalty to her mother in law. Ruth tells Naomi of Boaz’s kindness and she gleans in his field for the rest of the harvest season.
I believe this can teach us that as humans we fall short of the grace of God and his image of us. Our relationship with him can be broken due to our own free will and the choices we make on a daily basis. Sometimes we are not sure what to do or where to go and our decisions can place us in circumstances beyond our control and only our relationship with God can get us on the right path and make us whole again.
After the recent death of their parents in a car accident, 19 year old Nani is taking care of her young sister Lilo. They are visited by a case worker that does not think Nani can care for Lilo properly. He wants to place Lilo is foster care but Nani is against it because Lilo is the only family she has left. After she hears Lilo pray for a friend, Nani agrees to let Lilo adopt a dog. At the shelter, Lilo takes an interest in 626 even though the shelter workers are not exactly sure he is a dog. Immediately, she names him Stitch and welcomes him into her own broken family. Lilo shows Stitch around Hawaii and he quickly discovers escape is not possible as the island is surrounded by water and he is unable to swim due to him molecular structure and he has a nervous breakdown. Nani is trying to find a job and has to bring Lilo & Stitch with her , Lilo is trying to curb Stitches aggressive behavior by telling him to behave like Elvis, who she says is a model citizen. She also reads the book the Ugly Duckling to him. Stitch’s antics usually stem from him stopping Pleakly and Jumba from capturing him, but it also ruined Nani chances of getting the job. Jumba and Pleakly try one last time to capture Stitch, and in the process it appears as if Stitch tried to drown Lilo. She makes it safely to shore but the case worker saw the whole thing and decides to take Lilo away from Nani in the morning. After Stitch sees the trouble he has caused for Lilo, he leaves taking the ugly duckling book with him in hopes of finding his family.
Boaz is a close relative of Naomi’s husband’s family and by law is obligated to marry Mahlon’s widow, Ruth, in order to carry on his family line. Naomi tells Ruth all she must do and sends her to Boaz to uncover his feet while he sleeps. Ruth does so, and when Boaz awakes he asks who she is and she identifies herself and asks him to spread his cloak over her. This was the way a woman asked for marriage in those days. Boaz stated he was willing but that there was another relative who has the first right of redemption. This other relative is unwilling to jeopardize the inheritance of his own estate by marring Ruth. He relinquishes his right and allows Boaz to marry Ruth.
The experience of a being with Lilo and Nani as part of their family begins to change Stitch. Their emotions reveal the tension Stitch causes between Lilo and Nani but Lilo continues to love him anyway, even though Stitch sometimes wants to run away from his new family. Lilo says, Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind.
Ruth, a Moabite woman voluntarily embraces Naomi’s people, land, culture and God. Naomi was a destitute widow when she returned to Bethlehem and Ruth wanted to stay with her as she had built an affectionate relationship with her and wanted to take care of her and did so by undertaking the backbreaking work of gleaning in a field all day to support them This is a perfect example of the belief in God as he encourages including everyone no matter their background. Inclusion surpasses all cultural and racial boundaries with the sole purpose of uniting the human race under God.
For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. -Galatians 3:26
Christ never forgets the names of the members of His family. Even if we try to run away, His constant call to us and helps us find our way.
“You are in our midst, LORD, your name we bear: do not forsake us!” -Jeremiah 14:9
Lilo wants Stitch to use his unique abilities for good not for evil. She sees the good in him that the grand councilwoman couldn’t see. God not only gave us general abilities as humans, but he also gave us individual talents, which we sometime can use against Him. Choosing to use our talents and abilities for his glory, for furthering his kingdom here on earth is part of obedience to God.
Stitch is eventually captured by the agents that have been after him, and Lilo is captured as well. Even though Stitch escapes, he does not leave Lilo. Realizing that he has experienced a change of heart, Stitch rescues Lilo and reminds her that they are a family. This is what causes him to act for the good of his new family.
The same can be said for Ruth, Naomi is her family now and she undertakes the task of supporting them by the laborious tasks she takes on daily which is for the good of her family. Faith, Hope, and Love are strong emotions that can drive us to act for the good of Christ and our family.
Even though Stitch escaped and rescued Lilo, he does not run away when the grand councilwoman arrives to apprehend him. Although he has pride and insists that his name be used, he has also learned humility and obediently decides to follow orders. But not before he has had the chance to say goodbye to his family, a family he has become an important member of. This family had been torn apart by tragedy and he came along and mended it. Lilo remembers at the last moment that she has a receipt for Stitch. He has been bought and she paid the price.
Click this video to watch this precious song for this movie:
You have been purchased at a price. -1 Corinthians 6
B.L.O.G. Magazine Contributing Writer
Sonja has been married for 15 years to husband Dave and together they have two daughters, Joann 15, and Kaitlyn 10. She is a graduate of Indiana Business College with a degree in Business Administration and Finance. Sonja accepted her calling to ministry in 2002 with a assion for teaching and leading youth. Her background includes pre-K Sunday school teacher, 1-5th grade youth leader, junior high youth leader, worship team member, Upward Soccer and Cheerleading coach volunteer as well as many community outreach programs. She loves to teach others how to put their creativity to good use with her quick, affordable and easy tips.