The Gospel According to Disney – Aladdin

One of the most popular Disney animations is Aladdin in which a young street-wise boy, Aladdin, discovers an old oil lamp. He rubs the lamp and a genie appears who grants him three wishes. The genie, played by Robin Williams, is awesome and gives an account of all he can do, singing ‘you ain’t never had a friend like me.’ Now, Aladdin has fallen for Princess Jasmine, so understandably, for his first wish, he asks the genie to make him into a prince, which he does. However, Aladdin soon discovers that his newly acquired wealth and power do nothing to win the heart of Princess Jasmine. It is at this point that the all-powerful genie shows the true extent of his friendship, when he urges Aladdin, ‘Be yourself,’ for that is the only way to win Jasmine’s heart. Two thoughts occur to me.

Firstly, we should resist the temptation to try to be someone else. You do not need fame, fortune, fashion or any of those things we strive after to fit in; you just need to be yourself. You have been created in God’s image, you are special and interesting and worth knowing just as you are – so be yourself and you will come across far more authentic and believable and attractive.

 Secondly, the people of Jesus’ day, like today, wanted ‘the Son of God’ to come displaying awesome power, majestic, having great riches and with miracles as standard. Although Jesus could have done that he preferred to strip away all those distractions and show us the real character of his heart. He wanted to ‘be himself’ and so he was born in a stable, associated with the outcasts, cared for the sick and finally gave up his life for us on a cross. For those who look only on the externals he seems a loser, but for those who like Princess Jasmine, look to the heart, he is authentic, believable and attractive. Who else would set aside all his glory to win the heart of those he loves – you and I?

This Easter think about Aladdin and what he learned, and think to of yourself, how unique you are, and of Jesus, how to win your heart, he showed you his true self on the cross. Have a great Easter break.

 John Harries (Chaplain)
Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB