27 April 2024

Avatar: The Last Airbender: We are stronger together


An image shows a scene from Avatar: The Last Airbender, in which Aang has taken a fighting stance.  Picture Courtesy of Netflix © 2024.
Picture courtesy of Netflix © 2024

Eva reflects on the teamwork wielded in Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The new series Avatar: The Last Airbender is a live-action adaptation of the animated series of the same name. In the show, different nations are centred around particular elements (water, earth, fire and air) and are all seen to have very different cultures and practices. They have populations of ‘benders’, people who can control, or ‘bend’, one of the elements.

The show follows Aang – the Avatar – who is the last hope to stop the Fire Nation from overtaking the world. Aang is able to control all the elements and acts as a bridge between nations and as a connection to the spirit world.

Throughout the show Aang travels around with his friends learning valuable lessons from different people. In doing so, he finds that he is strongest when using all the different elements together and fighting alongside his friends.

That journey reflects how, in our real world, we meet different people with different skills and experiences and become stronger when we learn from each other. In 1 Corinthians 14:26, Paul says: ‘What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the Church may be built up.’

Paul details how everyone has a unique gift that we have to appreciate and learn to use as – like Aang – we should value all people and learn from them. This is an exercise in not only helping the Church to flourish but also recognising how our differences as individuals within a large community can challenge us in our faith if we are open to change and growth, ultimately making us stronger in our relationship with God as we take in new perspectives. Additionally, this creates a space more open to different viewpoints and types of people, allowing for a more diverse and open exploration of faith in our communities.

Aang makes many friends as he learns about the different communities in his world. He finds common ground in his struggle for peace and always tries to demonstrate understanding and kindness. He creates a sense of teamwork and unity around the world as he brings people together. For me, this is a reflection of how our Church should be: a welcoming place that greets the world with open arms and allows for that sense of togetherness through Jesus that connects us and allows our different gifts and experiences to help us thrive and connect with new people who may discover the Church.

In these ways, I think we should all strive to be like Aang, constantly learning from those around us and celebrating our differences while remembering the community we share through Jesus.

Reflect and respond

  • Pick your favourite Bible story and try to read it from a different perspective.
  • How often do you seek out new people to talk with about faith? Can you try and talk to someone in your church you don’t normally?
  • Who in your church might not feel able to express their gifts? How can you encourage and uplift them?

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