By Jill Perry
“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -King T’Challa (Black Panther)
Our Marvel loving family is mourning the loss of one of our superheroes, at least the actor who played him, Chadwick Boseman. While rewatching this movie I was once again reminded of the prayer of The King of kings, where He prayed that we would be united as one, even as He and His Father were one.
In the movie, the Wakandan nation had hoarded its valuable resources - vibranium and technology, for their own protection. They were turned inward. (Spoiler alert!) But by the end, they came to realize that sharing their resources with the world was even more valuable. They began turning outward.
We may not be citizens of Wakanda, but we ARE citizens of Heaven, where the main resource is LOVE. We are called to be ambassadors of this love, not only here in our own little spot on this vast planet, but in ALL the world.
When T’Challa puts on his suit, he transforms into the Black Panther.
When Tony Stark puts on his suit, he transforms into Iron Man.
When Peter Parker puts on his suit, he transforms into Spiderman.
Their identity hasn’t changed. Not really. They are still a king, a techie, and a high school student underneath the high tech suits. BUT the suits definitely make a big difference in what they are able to do, that they can’t do otherwise.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, PUT ON a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things PUT ON LOVE, which is the perfect bond of UNITY. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in ONE body; and be thankful. Col. 3:12-15
The thing about these superhero suits you and I have been given is that we are expected to put them on and KEEP them on. We shouldn’t get to take off compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, or LOVE just because someone’s opinion, skin color, political perspective, cultural experience, language, geographical location, religious upbringing, or socioeconomic status differs from ours.
Unfortunately many who claim to love Jesus are much too quick to take off that love and set it aside when discussing certain topics. Or even worse, saying mean-spirited things under the guise of "speaking the truth in love", but here's the thing...If it doesn't look, sound, or feel like love to the one to whom the statement is directed, we need to take pause to reevaluate if love truly is our motivation. We need to check to make sure we haven't taken off our love in an effort to prove a point or self-protect.
LOVE is the perfect bond of UNITY. We are ONE. One single tribe. The human tribe. Created in the image of God, Who IS LOVE. We aren't called to prove a point. God already proved the only point that matters by sending His Son because of His LOVE for us. We aren't called to self-protect. God has promised to protect us with an army of angels. What we have been called to do is LOVE The ONE and LOVE the one. And love looks like something.
May we put on our superhero suits and turn outward to help a world in desperate need of pure Kingdom LOVE.
Jill Perry, founder of Bursting Barns Ministries