Digging in Deeper: Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever watch episodes of the old Star Trek series? No, not that one. Nope, not that one either. I’m talking about the one with William Shatner. That was a fun series. Gene Rodenberry was a visionary of the highest order. Do you remember some of the technological wonders he imagined we would have in the 23rd Century? At least, many of those things seemed like distantly future wonders in 1966 when the series premiered. Now? Well, many of them still seemed pretty far-fetched, but not as many as did then. Things like traveling through space and wireless communicators and even some of the medical treatment and diagnostic tools they had are practically matters of course nowadays. And this isn’t the only time science fiction writers of the past correctly predicted technologies of the present. Some concepts that started as the fanciful imaginings of guys who were always just a little bit…different from everyone else are being brought into reality revealing those guys as a whole lot more forward thinking than anyone really expected. Then again, some science fiction ideas are just that in spite of our best efforts to the contrary. This morning I want to talk with you about science fiction, reality, and how everything got here.

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Digging in Deeper: Proverbs 14:12

“There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would you say if Captain America was British and female, Black Panther was an outer space Robinhood who reasoned Thanos out of destroying half the life in the universe, and the Avengers all got turned into super-powered zombies? I’d say you were reading a version of the comics different than the one most people have heard of. That would be correct. Marvel’s latest offering on Disney+ delves into a corner of the comics realm that is decidedly outside the norm and purposely so. Using a comic book line that first appeared in 1977, the latest Marvel series takes viewers on a beautifully animated journey into the question of “What if?” Now that the multiverse has been unleashed following the Loki series, each episode of What If? explores the universe that might have been created if a single event or decision by one of Marvel’s main characters had gone differently. This morning, I’d like to explore one of these with you.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 10:29-31

“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are wroth more than many sparrows.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would happen if someone knew everything? I mean everything. Every decision you make; every word you speak; all known completely before you do them. What would that mean for your life? Would you really have any free will? Or would you simply be doing what this person wanted you to do? This week the latest Marvel Disney+ series, Loki came to an end. As has become the case for nearly all of their work, the show’s creators invited viewers into Marvel’s fantastically impossible world of superheroes and villains, of incredible technology and magic (but I repeat myself), and now of time travel and multiple realities. The story the comics giant has been telling for 13 years was not just continued, but launched in a whole new universe of directions. It personally left me as excited as I can be for what comes next. But as is equally true for nearly all of their content, it invited viewers to consider some of the big questions of life. Specifically, what would it mean for our lives if there was someone who was truly sovereign over them? This morning, let’s talk about Loki and how we as Christians should think about the questions it asked. By the way, this conversation will be filled with spoilers for the last episode, so if you plan on watching it, go do that first.

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Digging in Deeper: Philippians 2:12-13

“Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do the things you do matter? How do you know? What is it that gives our lives meaning? These are big questions for a Friday morning, but they are ones the latest offering from Disney+ has me thinking about. The series is the next chapter in the ever-unfolding storyline Marvel has been weaving together on both the big and now small screen for the last 12 years. Like Wandavision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier before it, this one picks up right where Avengers: End Game finished and reveals what happens next with one of the characters. This time, the character is Loki, the villain-turned-hero brother of Thor and a fan-favorite. Let’s talk about the series that bears his name.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 6:1

“Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two mountains. The mountains were made of bronze.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There’s a great scene near the end of the first Avengers movie when Iron Man is confronting Loki about his plans. The villain arrogantly crows about how superior he is to all the humans and how they are just ripe for being ruled by him and how none of them pose any threat to him. Iron Man relates how Loki has managed to anger some really powerful people. When he fires back that he has an army at his disposal, Iron Man quickly retorts, “We have a Hulk.” Loki later meets Hulk and it doesn’t go quite like he expected. It’s always nice in a moment of crisis to have a Hulk on your side.

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