Friday, April 3, 2015

Thor and Self-Sacrifice

   Since this post goes out on Good Friday, I was wondering how to make it topical. As I was thinking this, I thought over some of the ideas I had in my head for posts I would like to do in the future. One of them was a post on the film Thor. As I thought more about it, I actually realized that Thor has a lot to do with Good Friday and Easter. Why is that? Because Thor is about self sacrifice.
    Where do I see that? Well, think for a moment about the story of Thor: Thor starts off as an arrogant 'teenager'. He starts fights and doesn't listen to others. He's not necessarily selfish, but he does not think of the needs of others. He thinks of how to entertain himself and throws consequences to the wind. The reason he can do this is because of his almighty hammer, Mjolnir. His power has the ability to get him out of the binds his stupidity gets him into. Then, after breaking a treaty with the Ice Giants just because Thor wanted a brawl to entertain himself, Thor's Dad gets angry. He banishes Thor to earth until he learns humility.
   Thor, after a few moments of anxiety, realizes what he needs to do: he needs to find his hammer. And he finds it. The problem is that Mjolnir has a requirement for those who lift it: they must be worthy of the power. Thor, because of his arrogance and pride, is not worthy.
   So Thor, dejected, seeks out a way to prove his worthiness. And he finds it when a villain called The Destroyer comes to wipe out the town. If Thor were to defeat this villain, he would prove his worth to his father and to the hammer. The problem is that without Mjolnir, Thor is no more powerful than a human. Yet, Thor takes on The Destroyer because he is willing to lay down his own life rather than let the monster hurt others. Thor sacrifices himself in an attempt to save the town from The Destroyer. Then, when Thor is unmoving on the ground, that is when Mjolnir comes to him: showing that his self-sacrificial act proved he was worthy of being raised.
   Now, I'm not saying that Thor represents Jesus. Jesus wasn't banished to earth and his powers weren't removed from him. Jesus willingly emptied himself of his grand powers (sacrificed, perhaps?) in order to come to earth. However, Thor does reflect what is so powerful about the crucifixion: not the fact that it was a brutal murder, but the fact that Jesus willingly allowed it to happen to him. This was his self-sacrificial moment. And, like Thor, Jesus was also returned to his rightful place.
   Paul, in Philippians, describes Jesus in this way:
(Jesus) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death  even death on a cross!  
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
   What a powerful thing to comprehend. Even more powerful that Paul calls Christians to live like that. So, during this Easter season, let us think of how Jesus sacrificed himself for us, and how we can sacrifice ourselves for others.

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