My top 3 movies of all time are 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, The Matrix, with Ultra Violet, Aeon Flux, and the Bollywood hit movie Bride and Prejudice all in a tie for third place (don’t judge me if you haven’t seen them). But the super hero movies from Marvel Comics are definitely edging their way into my top 10. The Avengers movie from 2012, which grossed close to 2
billion dollars worldwide, was probably my favorite and sits nicely as my fourth favorite. I went to see it with my son and some friends who were also comic book fans. My son and I were the only ones who were actually brought to tears (yes, real tears). Mainly because we were watching comic book heroes we were fond of brought to life on the big screen…together.
Although many of the characters appeared in movies of their own prior to the Avengers movie, seeing them overcome their differences and issues to come together for a greater cause to fight a common enemy made the movie hit home. Marvel did the same thing with the recent hit Guardians of the Galaxy. As a comic book fan I had a passing idea of the comic book group on which the movie was based. However, many people who did not know the group still loved the movie. Why? Well (no spoilers for those who have not yet seen it), in addition to the great comedic factor, and the extremely awesome soundtrack (which any fan or child of the 1980’s will love), the movie again focused on bringing people together. Individuals who each had different ideas of how to achieve a common goal put their differences aside to overcome a common enemy. This hasn’t escaped the notice of DC Comics who are planning on bringing several superheroes together in the upcoming Batman v Superman movie and the Justice League movie. Somehow Hollywood has taken notice that unity is the key to success.
So for those who have not quite caught on to where this is going I will ask the obvious question…why hasn’t the Church taken notice? Today, depending upon your definition of the word denomination, there are close to 400,000 different denominations that exist on the planet. These span the three major world views: Theism which holds that there is a God over all who made all; Pantheism which holds that God is all and everyone and everything is a part of that all; and Atheism which holds that there is no God at all. Within the Christian denominations most hold to a common belief system: there is one God who manifests Himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; that God the Father loved humanity so much that He sent God the Son to die for the sins of humanity in the place of humanity and then was resurrected; that evidence for this exists via God the Son sending God the Holy Spirit residing within all those who believe as the promised seal of God the Father. Many denominations have different structures and ways of worshipping God. But of the ones who hold the above in common, and who believe that the most important role of the Church, the body of Christ, is to reveal this truth to the world, the question still remains, why are they not coming together?
Isn’t there more strength in numbers? Yes. Wouldn’t the Church be more effective at reaching people with this truth if they combined resources? Possibly. Has coming together to achieve a common goal proven effective for more than just comic book heroes? Most definitely! No matter where one stands on same sex marriage it cannot be denied that the overwhelming accomplishment of 19 states approving same sex marriage has come about because those who are proponents of it have banded together, inside and outside of the church, putting their differences aside to achieve a common goal. The same is true of the legalization of marijuana. Proponents of the legal use of marijuana have banded together for a common goal and currently over 20 states have laws allowing either medical use of marijuana or use for recreational purposes. I am not trying to be negative but if “potheads” can come together, surely the Spirit filled people of God can as well.
If the Church believes the message and truth of the gospel is a more important and more life changing message than that of same sex legislation or marijuana legalization then why aren’t they banding together? Why aren’t larger congregations and smaller congregation sharing resources? Why are disagreements over hymns and traditional music still being debated? Why are there still predominantly white or black congregations in communities with diversity when we are all one in Christ? Why aren’t fundamentalists and charismatics acknowledging God’s Spirit exists in all true believers and coming together to share that good news?
Just recently, over 25,000 people came together for the three day Franklin Graham Three Rivers of Hope Festival in the city of Pittsburgh. Hundreds of churches came together for a common goal and thousands upon thousands of people put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. How would our congregations benefit if instead of bringing congregations together every few decades when a member of the Graham family came to town, we brought them together every few months? What would it say to our communities if they consistently and regularly saw various denominations coming together to worship Jesus Christ? How much more would the message of true transformation be heard by those in our circles of influence if the focus of all of our congregations was on inviting people into our lives and into God’s kingdom instead of just into our buildings on Sunday mornings?
As Stan Lee, comic book icon, is quoted as saying, “With great power must also come…greater responsibility,” Since the Church, the body of Christ is filled with the greatest power known to exist on the planet, the Spirit of the Living God, we have a greater responsibility to come together to see God’s purposes fulfilled through His Church. Plan a meeting with your pastor, ministry team, and then with other local pastors and/or their ministry teams within your community to see how you can start coming together to plan a community worship celebration, a praise in the park event, a community Thanksgiving celebration or to meet a community need. #wearethechurch