Film Friday: Aladdin

When street thief and bumbling smooth guy Aladdin gets hold of a magic lamp containing a wise-cracking, three-wish-granting genie, he has little problem working out what he wants. He wants to be a prince so he can woo and marry the woman of his dreams, Princess Jasmine…

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Aladdin gets his wish, and a whole lot more beside. He embarks on a magic carpet ride of adventure, wonder, romance and danger. On the outside he looks for all the world like a prince, but on the inside, he is still very much Aladdin, the bumbling smooth guy. Which is of course, what Jasmine really wants. Reality. Good old, genuine Aladdin. ‘I made you a prince on the outside,’ the genie tells him, ‘I didn’t change anything on the inside.’

We often get suckered into the idea that we must put on a pretence, a front to please others. We have learned over the years that we must do that. It’s the safest way. The world is not ready for that much reality. Social media has heightened too this notion that the best version of ourselves is the one we manufacture, and in doing so it is in danger of stealing away the real us. The true people we were designed to be. Jesus spoke of us knowing the truth, and that truth unlocking us and setting us free. He was talking of himself, but he was also talking of the power of the reality he could bring into our lives. It seems to me that Jesus embodies the truth about everything – God, life, us and the universe. When we look deeply into his character and his way of life he unmasks us. But not so that he can ridicule us or point out our many and regular failings (as often happens on social media) but so he can affirm us, take our mistakes and muddling and make something of them. It’s challenging stuff, and not easy, but from time to time may we break through to reality, and in doing so help others who are struggling with having to cover up. In a letter we call 2 Corinthians 1 v 4 that guy called Paul encourages us with these words – ‘God helps us in all our troubles,’ he writes, ‘so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God.’ May you know God’s help today. x

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