This past Sunday I preached about the movie “The Avengers.” Oh, I also preached about Isaiah 6 and John 3, too. I actually had to watch the movie before I could write the sermon, and, at first, I hated the name, the militarism, and the gratuitous violence. Eventually, though, I realized that it’s just a comic book, so I relaxed and enjoyed it.
What I have discovered is, if I can just let go of stuff that I can’t change, I’m open to learning something sacred, even from a comic. I realized that the team of Avengers was avenging the earth against those who would destroy it. (I personally pictured the CEO of Exxon or the Koch brothers.) Loki, with his horns, steps right out of Norse mythology and becomes the incarnation of Satan from Christian mythology.
There is a lot of violence in the movie, and I don’t think our world needs any more of any kind. Having said that, though, it is good to know that the Avengers aren’t fighting humans from another nation or a different faith. Like the heroes in Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring, they battle against the undead whose only purpose is darkness and death and destruction of humanity.
Maybe our world could use more of that kind of warrior. Yes, militarism is the source of all kinds of evil, so we must exercise care with our language. I wonder, though, if our world could use more women and men willing to take a risk, pay a price, and engage the forces of destruction, darkness, destruction, and death.
One of the great morals of “The Avengers” is that, although each of them is a superhero, no single one of them could defeat evil. They had to be called together and use their diverse gifts courageously to protect one another and the world of innocence. This is not a story of the heroic individual defeating their enemy, or even the enemy of human kind. This is the story of heroic women and men joining together not to battle their sisters and brothers, but to confront what the Bible might call “principalities and powers.”
While I’d never want to be called an avenger, I might be willing to be a hero, but only if you will join me.
Rev. Michael Piazza