‘The Sound of Music’ teaches biblical principles

Published 12:01 am Saturday, March 28, 2015

This month marks the 50th Anniversary of the premiere of “The Sound of Music.” I can’t count how many times I watched the movie.

I find myself singing along with the familiar Rogers and Hammerstein tunes – “The Hills Are Alive,” “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss” and other classic songs. The movie was based for the most part on the real story of Maria Von Trapp, whose family immigrated to America in 1939, eventually settling in Vermont.

Have you ever considered the biblical principles we can learn from the movie? The roles of actors like Liesl’s boyfriend, Rolf, and Nazi sympathizer Herr Zeller, show character traits to avoid – selfishness, greed, and betrayal.

The movie depicts the struggle between good and evil as Germany invades Austria. Captain Von Trapp refused to compromise himself during a time of crisis in his homeland. He and his family fled so he would not be forced to be a Naval officer of the Third Reich.

As the family leaves their hiding place at the Abbey to climb the Austrian mountains, the Mother Abbess prays for them, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help….God bless you.” She was quoting from Psalm 121 and the next verse continues, “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

Some have suggested the Austrian mountains represent the mountains in our lives. And that the song Maria sings in the movie comes from Psalm 121, “I go to the hills when my heart is lonely.”

But, most importantly, “The Sound of Music” shares a message of hope. In one scene, Mother Abbess speaks with Maria about the life of a nun and whether Maria is ready for it, “What have you learned since coming to the Abbey?” asks the Mother Abbess.

“To learn God’s will and to do it,” Maria sincerely replies. “Even if it is hard to accept?” says the Mother. “Even then,” answers Maria. Then the Mother Abbess says she believes it is God’s will that Maria leave the Abbey for a time and serve as a governess to seven children.

“To learn God’s will and to do it” should be one of the most important goals in anyone’s life. It may sound theologically complicated, but Jesus gave us an example when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

It was after the Last Supper on the eve of his arrest and crucifixion. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to pray. Jesus went a little farther away alone and fell on His face. Knowing what was about to happen, He prayed, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).

Being willing to do what God wants us to do, instead of what we want to do, may be hard to accept. But, as Maria discovered when she fell in love with the captain and his children, God has a plan for our lives that’s better than any we would choose.

Remember the words of Sister Margaretta, “When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window”…..or maybe another door.