By Debbie Lee
At some point the world is going to end. The Bible says so and even Hollywood knows it. But what that’s going to look like exactly is hard to tell. The last book of the Bible, Revelation (the full name being the Revelation of Jesus Christ), gives us a good idea but still there remains a shade of mystery. Regardless, we know that Jesus is coming back (and soon) and that there is a final battle that will occur between Jesus and his saints against everyone else. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a few years now, letting it marinate in my head. So when I watched the Avengers Endgame movie and came to the final battle scene, my mouth literally dropped open.
I don’t know how to write this without spoiling the movie so — spoiler alert! — sorry folks who haven’t watched it yet.
There have been some intense movie moments in my life. One that vividly comes to mind is when I was watching The Departed, desperately screaming at the TV screen in the last ten minutes of the movie, crying for Markie Mark to come save Leonardo Dicaprio. It’s intense because you don’t know how things are about to end…who survives? Who wins?? There’s a point in the final scene in Endgame where the major forces clash to fight to the death. It’s intense; again, you don’t know who’s going to win and the good guys seem incredibly outnumbered. But then sparkly portals open up and the handful of superheroes are joined by all the other superheroes and their crew. So many warriors have shown up to fight. It’s an incredible scene. It was made more incredible by the entire theater whooping and hollering and applauding at the arrival of “the cavalry.” And as I was processing the shock and awe of magical storytelling I saw the story playing before my eyes as a powerful imagery for the real final battle to come, where the Body of Christ will come together united, armed, and prepared to fight against all unrighteousness. The movie made real for me just how GLORIOUS we are as the Church.
In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, there is a similar scene. The battle is looking bleak, fighting has been ongoing through the night, and victory for good seems to be getting further and further out of reach. And just when hope seems lost, Gandalf the White arrives with the dawn bringing with him “the cavalry.” It’s inspiring, for sure, but what struck me differently about the Endgame scene was that so many different people and groups all came together for the fight. Not only that, there were so many mighty women fighting. I think it was this diversity and unity that made this scene so glorious. It reflects our identity, not just as individuals, but as a collective; there is something to who we are that is so much bigger than just your person.
I’m reminded of Jesus’ prayer for all believers found in John 18. In verses 20-23 he prays:
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
There’s that word glory again. It’s like, when we come together, in one heart, one mind, one love for Jesus, the glory he gives to us to enable our unity shines through. It’s more breathtaking than power, more powerful than impossibility, and more electrifying than passion. Perhaps this is why to come together, whether physically, ideologically, emotionally, etc. is so difficult. Perhaps the devil knows unity is a powerful weapon and we don’t. So maybe it’s worth thinking about what lies I may be believing in that keep me from coming together with “church people.” Perhaps it is time to open up my heart to others so that Jesus can begin the process of transforming us to be one so that God can dwell among us. I’m not sure where you’re at, but I think it’s worth your time to think about the glory that comes through unity. Because if the Endgame gives us any basis for what makes for victory, other than Jesus, I’m pretty sure it’s us coming together.