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: Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Who is your enemy? Now maybe you’re saintly enough that your response to that question is some version of, “I don’t have any enemies.” Granting that, who comes closest to that status for you? If you’re at all like a growing segment of our society, the answer just may be the people on the other side of the political aisle. In our hyper-partisan times, political rivals are among the most bitter enemies we have. The latest entry from Marvel Studios offers an important counterpoint to this decidedly unhealthy trend. Let’s talk today about Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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Digging in Deeper: Lamentations 3:17-18

“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.'” (ESV – Read the chapter)

Eighteen months. Eighteen months of nothing. There were rumors and reports, sure, but nothing concrete to embrace. Not a single thing. Then it suddenly arrived: Hope and the promise of a brighter future. We could all breathe a big sigh of relief because Marvel Studios had indeed not succumbed to the COVID economy. After waiting since July 2, 2019 when Spider-Man: Far From Home hit theaters, on Friday, January 15, 2021, the much anticipated new entry, Wandavision finally premiered on Disney+. Whether because it really is that good, or because we’d all grown so used to Marvel’s regular theatrical releases that the absence primed our hearts to be fond of whatever they released next, it has been a major hit. After months of nothing but rumors and scoops, the Marvel fandom finally had something solid to digest and debate. And so it has. This morning let’s talk about Wandavision and what it just may mean for you and me.

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Morning Musing: Amos 9:14-15

“I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel. They will rebuild and occupy ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink their wine, make gardens and eat their produce. I will plant them on their land, and they will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them. The Lord your God has spoken.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you’ve been reading along with me for very long, you know that I’m a big nerd. This is actually a bit of a culture-wide trend. As millions of comic nerds have grown up big studios have started making movies out of their favorite stories. Marvel Studios have done this better than anyone else in my humble opinion. One of the things they’ve done that have kept audiences returning from one film to the next is that they’ve mastered the post-credit scene (scenes actually). As each movie ends, there’s a little hint that the story isn’t over. God’s story works the same way.

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Digging in Deeper: James 1:22

“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

So, last time, I offered up the beginning of my review of Marvel’s Luke Cage. It is a story that invites some theological reflection in part because it is consciously rooted in a theological framework. The main character is a preacher’s kid and the main villain quotes Scripture constantly and always carries a Bible well-worn from being read and marked up. I said I thought there are three lessons worth learning for followers of Jesus. Let’s talk about those now.

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