Since 2012, I have felt a certain geek satisfaction that I never thought I’d feel growing up. In May of that year, I saw what I thought was impossible: Marvel’s The Avengers, featuring multiple heroes, staples of my childhood, on-screen together for the first time. Sure, I expected it. I had followed development of that film from inception forward, carefully taking in information as to satiate anticipation yet avoiding spoilers the best I could, and I didn’t find myself sitting in a seat at midnight by accident. You could even say I had raised myself up waiting for all it offered.
Looking back at my pre-Internet age childhood, one of my most read comics wasn’t even a comic at all, but a mostly black and white, text-heavy “encyclopedia” issue called “Avengers Log,” a compendium of all team members and enemies up to its printing in 1994. I pored over the history of the team for hours upon end, and I knew the team’s roster like the back of my hand with all of its shifts, splits, victories, and losses.
I knew where The Avengers had been, but I never thought I’d ever see them in live-action on the screen, only within my imagination or on the page. Yet, just after midnight on May 4, 2012, the culmination of the four years prior of Marvel films and my own years of wishful thinking coalesced into an experience I wouldn’t forget. That wrap-around shot near the end of the movie, showing the assembled team, fully sealed the deal.
Now, in mere days, Captain America: Civil War (referred to tongue-in-cheek by many as Avengers 2.5, due to its plot) will be released, blowing my mind even further that no longer is it possible to see so many different heroes together, but also find ways to drive them apart. All indications are that it will continue the Marvel films’ tradition of quality work.
Still, in a few short years, we’ve seen the heroes come together, be tested in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and now, come to full-on blows in Civil War. With a planned two-part “conclusion” featuring in Avengers: Infinity War coming in just a couple years, I think we can assume that despite their disagreements, some if not all of those scrapping will lay aside their differences to take arms against the looming threat of Thanos. I look forward to seeing how it is all resolved, opening night I’m sure.
While the term “teamwork” isn’t mentioned in the Bible, its concept is illustrated well, especially in New Testament teaching, as we will see. As a pastor, I often remind my church of each person having their role to play in the larger reality that is Christ’s church. I have talents and abilities, attitudes and dispositions, imbued within me by my Creator and tempered by my experiences, that are unique to me, if not in peculiar form, then in particular assemblage.
I was created to live in this particular time that I am in, face the problems that I face, and minister to those led to me in the ways Scripture and the Holy Spirit lead me to do. Guess what? All of that I just shared applies to you too, if you are a believer. Wherever you are in this world, I believe God has a plan for you to do the work He calls you to do. Yet, we don’t exist in a vacuum. We exists among others, lost and saved. The lost we minister to, and the saved, whether we agree or always get along with them easily or not, we work with.
We should count it a full honor that Christ has entrusted us, each of us individually as His people, with the ability to minister, and it should also be an honor that He counts all of us, collectively as His church, worthy to work together. As I said, I am a pastor, but I also consider myself a ‘geek pastor’, and sometimes, I, personally, better understand the truths of God through things known very well to me. In this case, after seeing The Avengers and all they’ve been through thus far, I see them as an indication of teamwork, yes even for us as the Church.
I don’t mean for this article to be an exhaustive breakdown of the entire MCU, but succinctly, the initial team we got on screen in 2012 was this:
A principled leader, isolated in his views that somehow seem out of touch with the world he’s in now.
An egocentric billionaire who, after a change of heart, no longer arms enemies but stands up to them.
A lonely scientist, suffering from destructive rage issues, that leave him unable to fully connect with others.
A powerful being, forced to understand what it means to be human and humble, despite his family issues.
A government operative, trained to be cold and calculating and forced to find her place among those seemingly more able.
Another “mere mortal”, initially deceived by the enemy, but later proving his worth with his weapon of choice.