Bear Necessities- Look, See, Pray

Favourite Film- “Jungle Book” by Disney.

Favourite Character- Baloo the Bear

Favourite Song- “The Bare Necessities”

What can I say? I’m a lost cause, a hopeless case, a big kid… Disney released this excellent cartoon when I was a young sweet thing, and my big sister took me to see it at the cinema. I returned the favour later, taking at least one of my nephews. Still not sure who enjoyed it more, me or him.

What’s not to like? A plucky lost child, talking animals, Boris Johnson in an early performance as “King Louie” – and wonderful songs with bounce and stickability. Hey, the jungle provides everything we need! Food, friends, family, even a gloriously-voiced enemy, namely Shere Khan the bitter, twisted tiger determined to slay the man-cub. Kaa hisses his way into hiss-tory, hypnotically singing sinister sibilant serenades. But rising supreme is the optimist, carefree, fun-loving, thoughtless Baloo who takes Mowgli under his paw… teaching the man-cub how to fight, forage, and fool around. At the end, Baloo even has a starring role as the brave beast who fights off the tiger until Mowgli can find fire. As Shere Khan flees, a fiery branch tied to his tail, Baloo lies senseless in the mud… apparently dead.

What was my sister thinking??? This film must be wholly unsuitable for kids- let alone for use as a spirituality guide!

Except… that song. About the bear bare necessities.

Imagine if we lived like Baloo, finding the necessities provided freely in the world… content with what we have today, and looking for a fresh adventure tomorrow. Doesn’t that sound a bit like…… the teaching of Jesus?

“Don’t worry about what you will eat, or wear… your Father knows what you need.” If that doesn’t convince you, there is a line in the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us TODAY our daily bread.”

Paul the apostle learned to “be content” with what he had, and trust God for what he might need.

Yet here we are, chasing our tails, like puppies excitedly trying catch the uncatchable! We compete, catch up, and overtake the Joneses, chasing things of limited value that cannot satisfy the hunger in our souls. Settle for the necessities? Nah, we want the LUXURIES… and whatever those people over there have got.

Bears spend a LOT of time sleeping. We spend our lives moaning about being tired, having insomnia, striving for the next BIG score- and missing out on the necessities of love, faith, hope, relationships and contentment. Who is the most intelligent, bear or us?

Baloo, a super-guru of splendidly simple spirituality.

Or, if you are more mature than me, then model yourself on the Jesus who had “nowhere to lay his head” yet transformed history by revealing the loving compassion of the Father-Provider, who has given us life, a whole world, and an even better one ahead as Jesus reconciles this broken world to the Father’s Love.

A creator, provider, and saviour. How’s that for a bare necessity?

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