Worthy

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Spoiler Warning: Minor Avengers Endgame spoilers

Avengers: Endgame begins with a fairly melancholy mood.   Earth’s mightiest heroes have failed, and everyone is trying to pick up the pieces and learn how to live with a new normal.  For all of the heroes it is a struggle, but perhaps the hero that struggled the most was Thor.  It seems fairly clear that Thor is struggling with post-traumatic stress and full blown depression.   He blamed himself for all that happened, he was unwilling to forgive himself, and he was unable to move on.    We are shown that Thor surrounded himself with enablers as he spiraled into depression and tried to drown his feelings beneath copious amounts of beer.  The movie makes it clear that those five years had not been kind to Thor.  They had taken their toll on his body and psyche. 

The turning point for Thor in Endgame comes when he visits Asgard of the past.  After having a heart to heart with his mother, Thor tries to summon his hammer, which had been destroyed in the future.   He is able to do this, and Thor lights up with a mixture of joy, relief and accomplishment.   Being able to summon the hammer communicates to him that he is still worthy.  

Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, carries the enchantment on it that “Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”   In general the concept of being worthy is a large part of the mythos of Thor.   Being able to prove his worth to lift the hammer was the central plot point of the first Thor movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

In Endgame, Thor appears genuinely surprised that he is still worthy.   He must have thought that the effects of depression along with the guilt of his perceived failure had disqualified him from being worthy.  However, the hammer responding to his call was a reminder that he was more than his depression and that his failures did not define him.   It reminded him what he truly is:  He is worthy.   

In the scene where this happens, there is a faith message.   There are a lot of people that need to be reminded in life that they are worthy.   One of the things that breaks my heart in pastoral ministry is when I meet someone who stays away from church and a faith life, because of the things they have done.   It saddens me to hear people make comments like “the walls might fall in if I show up” or “God’s likely to finally zap me if I enter a church.”   These comments are meant to be humorous, but they are jokes that come from a place of deep hurt. There are too many people who believe the absurd lie that their sin is unforgivable, that they have messed up, and God is done with them.   These people have allowed guilt to form a wedge between them and God.  

To be as clear as possible, the idea that someone has messed up so much that they are beyond forgiveness is a pile of hot garbage. It is a lie from the deepest pit of hell.   No one is outside of God’s grace and there is nothing we can do that will make God love any of us any less.   We are all still worthy of God’s love.   The reason is simple:  It is our not behavior that proves our worth.   For Thor what made him worthy was having honor, selfless heroism, and the heart of a warrior.   For us what makes us worthy of God’s love is Jesus Christ.   On the cross Jesus made the eternal statement for all people:  “You are worth it.”  

Paul writes about this in the fifth chapter of Romans Paul address this.  Romans 5:6-8 states: “You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, through for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

Because of this there is no sin, there is no wrongdoing, and there is no failure that is not forgiven.   On the cross Jesus already made things right, we can be forgiven.   No matter what you have done, in God’s eyes you are still worth it.   Thanks to Jesus Christ, we can be found worthy of God’s love. 

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