The older I get the more I appreciate Good Friday and Easter. When I was younger we didn’t do much to celebrate Good Friday. Perhaps we went to a Good Friday service but I don’t remember. I do remember celebrating Easter every year, though. Unfortunately I was more interested in what was in my Easter basket than what wasn’t in the empty tomb.
With each passing year, though, my appreciation for Good Friday, Easter and Holy Week has deepened. Good Friday celebrates the love that held Jesus to the cross. Easter celebrates the power that released him from the grave. Because of that love and power the universe has been transformed, and we can be transformed as well.
The coming weekend isn’t like others. Easter weekend is special and we need to prepare ourselves for it. By reflecting on the death of the cross and the life of the empty tomb, God may show is something new about ourselves. We can use Holy Week to cultivate our hearts to better hear what God has to say.
So this year we’re going to look at Holy Week through the lens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hopefully by looking at Earth’s Mightiest Heroes we’ll learn more about the Universe’s Only Savior, and the work he wants to do in our lives.
On Holy Monday the Western Church traditionally looks at John 12:1-8. In this passage Mary anoints Jesus’s feet with expensive perfume, wiping them down with her hair. While Judas criticizes Mary’s extravagant expression of love, Jesus supports it. Mary is anointing her king while he is still with her; she knows that he is the only one worthy of such an extravagant expression of love.
We see another anointing in the movie Thor. At the beginning of the movie Odin is poised to make Thor the new ruler of Asgard. In spite of Thor’s brashness and arrogance, Odin wants to pass the throne to his son. However, the coronation is interrupted by Frost Giants. Thor foolishly pursues the Frost Giants, almost destroying thousands of years of peace. Odin sees Thor for the vain, greedy, cruel boy that he is. Mjölnir is taken from Thor and Odin banishes Thor to earth.
If Jesus was the worthiest king anointed by Mary, then Thor was an unworthy brute, unfit to rule anything. Jesus’s power and authority not only came from his position, but also from his actions. Even before people believed that Jesus was the Messiah, they were impressed by his authority and how he taught differently from the Pharisees. People were only impressed by Thor because of his father and his position; he wasn’t worthy of anything.
So on this Holy Monday we can see ourselves in Mary or in the throngs of Asgardians cheering for Thor. Mary gave an extravagant expression of love to the only one worthy of everything. The Asgardians gave cheers, which cost them nothing, for a would-be king who wasn’t even worthy of his own weapon.
We may not have any Gods of Thunder to adore, but there are plenty of other distractions seeking our praise. Just like Thor wasn’t worthy, neither are the other distractions in our lives.
Jesus is the only person or thing worthy of our praise and adoration. Holy Monday offers us the opportunity to set our focus on him for the entire week. If we keep Jesus at the center of our hearts and minds, then we’ll be better prepared for him to show us something new, during this week or this coming weekend.
Thor is great and I appreciate that he became worthy of Mjölnir. However Jesus is even better because he is, was and always will be worthy of our praise.
How can you honor Jesus this week like Mary did?