In the 2012 film, Marvel’s The Avengers, Loki is standing outside before a crowd. Soon he tells the crowd to kneel, saying that is their natural state. It is a rather startling portrayal of a suddenly fearful people doing what they are told; doing something they otherwise would not have done.
Then just as suddenly, from within the crowd an older man stands up. Loki points him out to the bowing crowd, who must sense the man is about to die. A split second before the “Elder” would have died, Captain America arrives and redirects the deadly force back to Loki. Snapped out of their compliant state by the ensuing battle between Loki and Captain America, the crowd disperses.
In our tradition, Easter arrives this Sunday, April 21st. The significance of Easter is that it is the culmination of Holy Week. Holy Week takes us from Passion/Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday until the day of Resurrection. Holy Week takes us from Jesus’ celebrated and oppositional entry into Jerusalem through his last evening with his disciples, his crucifixion, death, and burial to his being raised from the dead.
The Easter Celebration is of one who stood against the ways of empire and its most horrific use of force. Easter celebrates the one who in life and death showed others how to live into the reign of God which is the vision of a reality difficult to discern, but very present.
Jesus was not saved from death. Yet afterward, he was raised by God. No one else could have done it. While some people were cowering in fear, Jesus was visible above them, innocent, and alone but for two others being crucified beside him. No Captain intervened. Jesus died. Christ was raised.
May all of us be raised to witness life anew.
Rev Jim Sinclair
Pastor Jim is the minister for First United Baptist Church