What Do These Have in Common? Part 2: Aladdin’s Oasis
In a previous post, I asked readers to consider this attraction and the verse that followed and tell me how you think the attraction illustrates the verse. No one made the connection I was looking for—at least not that I know of, since no one commented.
Aladdin’s Oasis was a semi-improvised show for children based on the 31st animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, Aladdin. One of the common features of our two main characters, Aladdin and Jasmine, is that they are both trapped in a world they don’t want. Aladdin due to poverty and Jasmine due to her station in life (as Princess and daughter of the Sultan) and neither can see a way out. All they know and expect to ever know is their day-to-day, just-getting-by existence. An existence that in some ways could be pleasant, but was often difficult. Neither expected to experience any adventure other than just their daily lives, never knowing what was just beyond the horizon.
When Jafar tricked Aladdin into entering the Cave of Wonders to retrieve the Magic Lamp, Aladdin’s life was changed forever, and he—for selfish reasons at first—shared that change of perspective with Jasmine. Consider some of the lyrics of their featured song, “A Whole New World.” Sure, the song is a love song, and as such major portions do not apply here, but there are still some very instructive lines.
(Aladdin)I can show you the world Shining, shimmering, splendid …I can open your eyes Take you wonder by wonder Over, sideways and under On a magic carpet ride A whole new world A new fantastic point of view …
(Jasmine)A whole new world A dazzling place I never knew But when I'm way up here It's crystal clear that now I'm in a whole new world with you …(Jasmine)I'm like a shooting star I've come so far I can't go back to where I used to be (Aladdin)A whole new world (Jasmine)Every turn a surprise (Aladdin)With new horizons to pursue (Jasmine)Every moment red-letter (Both)I'll chase them anywhere
The same is true for us. We live our lives, and for most of us we can’t even conceive of anything else, of anything more. All we can see is what surrounds us, and our view of reality is determined mostly—even wholly—by what we see and hear. But consider our verse:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Paul says that because we have been raised with Christ, we can have a new perspective. The reality of what we see and hear is not the only reality there is. We can choose to change our perspective and set our hearts and minds on things above—on heaven, on Christ, on God. And when we do that, not only does the scale of our problems change, so does the scale of our accomplishments and achievements.
Problems still exist, but they become smaller compared to the greatness of our God. Remember, in Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming Messiah which is often quoted around Christmas, he says, “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Which of your problems is too big for a God that is described by those names? And yet, if our eyes are fixed on earthly things, we lose sight of the greatness of our God who can and does care for us and is bigger than all our problems and fears, and we begin to depend only on ourselves.
At the same time, our achievements and accomplishments take on their proper perspective. In Philippians 3 Paul says,
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul had a lot to brag about, but when his perspective was changed he saw that it really wasn’t worth that much compared to knowing Christ. Does that mean accomplishments have no purpose? No. But it does mean that the most important thing about us isn’t what we do it’s Who we know. And so we don’t have to look at others and compete with them for value and significance. Again, changing our perspective gives us a view of “a whole new world.”
Aladdin was trapped at the bottom of society. Jasmine was trapped at the top. Both found their new life of adventure when their view was raised to outside what they could see and into “a whole new world”. No matter where you find yourself in life, “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” and see what “a whole new world” may look like.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”