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KataraKatara, a Waterbender, recites this inscription during “The Cave of Two Lovers” episode of The Last Airbender.

OK. I’ll admit it. My two sons have sucked me in to watching this absolutely riveting cartoon series from the Nickelodeon network. Netflix paired with AppleTV is a dangerous combination.

The writers embed lots of fun, humorous, and, yes, wise moments of truths and paradoxes. And I heard the quotation above quite differently because of something civil rights leader and theologian Vincent Harding said: that, rather than try to banish or ignore the darkness, we need to teach our children to be “sources of light” within that darkness.

I love this idea. It’s real and forces us to acknowledge our capacities for all the flaws we have as human beings, and our even greater inherent abilities to transcend them. Possibility.

And, if you’re wondering, here’s the Wiki description of the scene:

“After traveling for about three hours, Aang and Katara encounter a large tomb designed for the two lovers spoken of in lore. By reading script around the walls, they discover the true story of the two lovers: a man and a woman from feuding towns met at the top of a mountain. Although it was dangerous to meet, the loving couple found a way to continue their relationship in secret.

After learning Earthbending by observing the natural skills of badgermoles, they created a labyrinth which only they could navigate as a place to be together. However, one day the man did not come; he had been killed in the war between their two people. While the woman’s fury was initially expressed in a display of Earthbending prowess which could have potentially destroyed both of the warring towns, she instead declared the conflict at an end.

The two villages later created a city to honor the couple’s love, which eventually grew into the city of Omashu (the names of the lovers are revealed to be Oma and Shu, whose names were joined together). Aang and Katara then turn around and see a statue of the lovers, with a slogan in the middle stating: ‘love is brightest in the dark.’”


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5 Comments

My girls (7 and 3) love this series. Great for kids and adults.

I was completing absorbed in the tale as well! We watched it through Netflix and it is one of the smartest, funniest and engaging shows for kids that I've seen. The characters evolve and have depth. It's amazing. I recommend it even if you don't have kids to watch it with. My children 6 and 9 both understood a lot of the dimensions of the spiritual struggles in the story as well.

Thank you for the wonderful interview with Vincent Harding. He and his wonderful wife Rose Mary were such important "elders" for me on my journey. He is a light in the world and it moved me to hear him still speaking such powerful truths--truths that we need now more than ever.

Thank you... thank you. Will send you an email shortly as I'd like to include this as part of my own blog if possible.

Wow, the whole gospel of Jesus is right there.