We Don’t Talk About What Bruno is Really Talking About… 

(c) 2021 Walt Disney Animation Studios

Lin-Manuel Miranda has an innate ability to create infectious music. Whether it’s from Hamilton or In the Heights orMoana, the man knows how to create music that gets in your head and stays there. One of his latest expressions of this is from the movie Encanto, the story of a Columbian family, the Madrigals. It chronicles their triumphs and struggles over several generations. Each member of the family has certain gifts or abilities (except one) and one member in particular, Bruno, has a gift (or curse) of prophecy. He can see into the future but only so far and only so much. The images he sees are incomplete and when he reveals them, people respond to them in the wrong ways, one of the great tensions in the movie. 

It also gives us the song, We Don’t Talk About Bruno.  The song is an explanation for why Bruno is missing from the Madrigal family. He sees specific moments or things about people and when he tells them about it, they live into it. It’s a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy situation. He also sees moments in time and then when they come to pass, people blame him for the things that happen even though he has nothing to do with making them happen he only sees them happen. Yet, people kept coming to him asking him for the visions and expecting the visions to make their lives easier. They wanted Bruno to tell them what would happen, but they didn’t want to take responsibility for how it came to happen. Since Bruno was the messenger (in this case prophet), he was somehow responsible.  

I think the underlying thing they (and for that matter, people in general) were looking for was certainty. We want to know things are going to be a certain way, happen in a certain order, end with a particular happy ending. We want to be told it will all be okay with and given a road map for getting there. In the church, we want the Holy Spirit to give perfect advice. Jesus to clearly mark a specific path, and God to bless every step without fail of heartache. In short, this is an extension of the prosperity gospel—become a follower of Jesus and everything will be perfect from now on. 

Discipleship doesn’t work that way.

Our “advice” of the Holy Spirit is sometimes filtered through bad theology and selfish desires. The path we walk is often through uncharted territory (at least for us) and God does not always bless our steps, especially when we let the bad theology and selfish things we blame on the Holy Spirit lead the way. Jesus said God “makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). He says to the rich, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Jesus has this conversation with would-be disciples,

As Jesus and his disciples traveled along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Human One[e] has no place to lay his head.”

Then Jesus said to someone else, “Follow me.”

He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of God’s kingdom.”

Someone else said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those in my house.”

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.”

Luke 9:57-62

Jesus did not call us to certainty and following the Way of Jesus is not a path of certainty. Jesus called us to follow—wherever, whatever, anytime, anywhere. The disciple’s terms of the agreement given by Jesus are “follow me” pure and simple. You will have what you need. You will be loved and taken care of. You will have no idea how and no level of certainty as to what it looks like. Trust/faith implies a lack of certainty. It says, “I am willing to go and not know.” 

So, go. Quit waiting to see everything laid out for you. Move on and let God take care of the rest.