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  • Reverend James Squire


Updated: Feb 7, 2021

What do the movies “Elvis and Nixon” and “Avatar”, tell us about the experience of the disciples the days after Jesus’ Resurrection? The scripture post Easter is about who sees Jesus and who doesn’t in their initial encounters with Him. Doubting Thomas embodies this theme of the need for “seeing and believing”. He needs to see the holes in Jesus’ hands before he can believe.

The movie, “Avatar” was released in 2009. The theme song was “I See You”. One of the verses is:

“I see you

Walking through a dream

I see you

A light in darkness breathing hope of a new life

Now I live through you and you through me, enchanting

I pray in my heart this dream never ends

I see me through your eyes.”

“Now I live through you and you through me.“ This is what the disciples realized when Jesus appeared to them after the resurrection. They were seen as who they really were and they, in turn, saw who He was, the Holy One. This is the power behind Christianity. That power enables us to see and be seen for who we are, our flaws and good things. What does this have to do with our daily lives?

One way this power is seen is in the fictional account of a real life encounter between Elvis and Nixon in a movie by that name released in 2016. Two of Elvis’ friends accompany him on his journey to meet Nixon as Elvis desires to request an FBI badge so that he can do some good in the world.

It was not the exchanges between Nixon and Elvis that got my attention although those exchanges are laced with humor and memorable lines. Rather, it was an exchange between Elvis and his friend that caught my attention. Elvis is one of the most recognized figures around the world. As he tries to give his friend an expensive gift, the friend refuses it. Elvis states that everyone knows him as a singer, a phenomenon, a personality, but his friend knows him as the “Memphis Elvis”. “You knew me before all of that. You know everything about me. You have seen it all! The other stuff doesn’t count.” It is a poignant moment.

There in the oval office, a symbol of worldly power, we see worldly power eclipsed by the importance of being seen and loved for who we are, warts and all. That is what the Resurrection has given us, a spiritual power. “I pray in my heart that this dream never ends.” It doesn’t. That dream is there for all time. A new vision…a new way of seeing…”I see me through your eyes.”…both now and in life eternal.

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