Greetings from Pastor Ben

On May 1, the second Avengers movie hit the theaters, and I was there with my wife, Monica, who is a good sport about these things. I’ve been a fan of most of the Marvel Comics movies in the past few years. There’s the nostalgia for the characters of my childhood, as well as the action and special effects that are done so well. But there is also something about the stories that are told and their perspective on the human condition, which ironically use superhuman heroes and abilities to give commentary on things like justice, war, love, responsibility, and identity.

My favorite hero is probably Captain America. In his first movie, “Captain America: The First Avenger,” there’s a scene that captures the heart of what Captain America is all about. He’s not only about butt-kicking and smashing heads. He’s about protecting the vulnerable, caring for others, and standing up for what’s right. In fact, he so values justice, peace, and life that he becomes a Christ-figure in the story more than once. Steve Rogers, before receiving his superpowers and becoming Captain America, is a skinny, weak, and underwhelming recruit at Army basic training in preparation for service in World War II. During training, Colonel Phillips pulls the pin on a fake grenade and throws it among the recruits. While most of the soldiers run for cover, Steve dives on the grenade as a human shield, protecting his comrades from harm. This display of bravery and self-sacrifice, even though the grenade was fake, is at the heart of Captain America’s identity and purpose.

When I saw this scene, I immediately thought of the story from 1 Samuel 16, when God sent the prophet Samuel to see Jesse of Bethlehem. Israel’s king, Saul, has worn out God’s favor so Samuel is called by God to anoint a new king.  Read more . . .

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