Faith & Fandom
Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Chapter Volume 1
So, Guardians was amazing. I think everyone pretty much ends up at that opinion. Between the amazing reviews, box office sales, soundtrack, and the word “Groot” becoming a household name, there’s no denying it was a good movie. Inside the film there are some pretty obvious biblical elements like Groot, Peter, the Nova Core, and the whole rest of the team being willing to sacrifice themselves to save others. Like I said, that’s obvious, so rather than go that route, I’m going to take a cue from the amazing soundtrack of the film and make a “Mix Tape” of mini- chapters for each of the characters. So put your textual headphones on and enjoy.
Rocket: Track #1 “I have a plan.”
Rocket may be the smallest member of the Guardians, but he thinks bigger than everyone else combined. He has a plan in most every situation, and most often they aren’t exactly the most practical or well thought out plan, but at least it’s better than 12% of a plan.
We are encouraged in Proverbs 16:9 to not only have a plan but to let God direct the steps of how that plan proceeds. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” If we are making our own plans, but not letting God be involved in the execution it may not even go as smooth as Rocket’s plans.
Track #2 “Aint no thing like me, ‘cept me.”
Rocket recognizes his individuality. People call him all sorts of things and try to tell him who he is all the time. We can see this is a great source of frustration for him, but he knows the truth that he is more than what anyone says he is. This is important for us to know as well. We need to know how unique we are and that no one has knowledge of who we are more than our creator. Check out Psalm 139, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Verses 13-16)
Track #3 “What are you, a saint? Why would you want to save the universe? What’s it ever done for you?”
Yes, Rocket may be a little bit more about self- preservation than being a noble hero, but he poses an interesting question. Why should we care about saving anyone? The answer is because God cares. It’s what He wants, and if we want to follow Him, we need to care too. Check out 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” “Look, I'm standing up! See? We're all standing now!”
Groot: Track #4 “I am Groot.”
Groot is a tree of few words, so far four that we’ve heard. If you read the comics you actually find out that Groot is saying whole complex sentences and dialogue, but his vocal chords are so rough and rigid, that everything he says comes out sounding like “I Am Groot.” But the fact he is a tree of few words makes his words more meaningful when they come across. Simply saying “We are Groot” was one of the most meaningful things in the entire film. If we are considerate and purposeful with our words, they mean more. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” – James 1:19
Track #5 “Growth.”
- One of Groot’s biggest assets is his ability to grow. His power to increase size is pretty impressive, from growing his legs taller, making shields, making his arms into giant tentacle-like- whips, and even enveloping all his friends in a
sacrificial sphere. Groot not only knows how to grow, but does so on a regular basis. That statement isn’t always true for us. Sometimes we have no idea how to grow and, even if we do, sometimes we fail to do the things necessary. We have to make sure we seek out not only how to grow in Christ but make the required effort to do so. “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15
Track #6 “Pruning.”
- Groot can take losing a branch or two. In his first scene with Gamora, she hacks and slashes him to bits, but he still takes it. In the prison he takes heavy gunfire. No problem. When Ronan’s ship crashes, he’s smashed to pieces, and is back to dancing away in no time flat. We, on the other hand, don’t respond so well to getting torn up. Hopefully, we aren’t going to be sliced up by angry green women, but God still puts us through similar pruning. He chips and cuts away at the parts of us that are dangerous to us or that keep us away from Him. It’s not an assault; it’s an act of love. When we are going through this we should have Groot’s attitude of knowing that this will simply give us more room to grow. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” - John 15:2
Star Lord: Track #7 “Something Incredibly Heroic.”
So in a moment of either sheer selflessness or complete confidence that his plan would work, Peter sacrificed himself to save Gamora by giving her his mask which is the only thing keeping him alive. The ravagers show up in the nick of time and they are both saved. Gamora awakens, and when she questions Quill responds with “I saw you out there. I don't know what came over me, but I couldn't let you die. I found something inside of myself, something incredibly heroic. I mean, not to brag, but objectively...” He basically takes a powerful and beautiful moment, and uses it to inflate himself and look impressive to Gamora. A lot of times as believers we take the same route. We want people to see how “heroic” we are in how we serve, but as Quill learned in his moment with Gamora, inflating yourself isn’t effective. In fact, Jesus warns against this. Matthew 6, "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Verses 2-4).
Track #8 “Bit of Both.”
The Guardians aren’t exactly heroes. They aren’t exactly villains either. They straddle the line of good guys and bad guys just enough to keep it entertaining and to appeal to a much broader audience. As Quill poses the question at the end of the film, “What should we do next: Something good, something bad? Bit of both?” That works fine for fictional teams of semi-heroic anti- heroes, but in our lives and especially in our faith, that’s not exactly the route to take. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus describes two clear paths, not a middle lane you can bounce back and forth between. I realize that we are sinners and, quite often, our lives will consist more on the “bit of both” side of things, but we should never choose the bad. When we find ourselves in the middle, we need to quickly get back in our lane.
Track #9 “Not A Terran.”
The mystery of Starlord’s father is laid on thick through most of the movie from his mother’s comments of him being composed of “Pure Light” to Yondu’s less than flattering remarks about his character. Either way, Quill doesn’t really have a knowledge of his dad, and that’s something that’s going to play a role in future films. In the comics his identity is revealed but from what we hear, the film dad is going to be someone totally different than his comic counterpart. So why does it matter who his father is? Considering how much Peter clung to his mother after her death, imagine what finding a living father would mean to Peter. We see in scripture that knowing our fathers plays an important role. They are our guide, and they instill and empower us. Even Jesus shows us the vital role in John 5:19, “Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” As Peter searches to know his father better, we should make it our goal to know our Heavenly Father better.
Gamora: Track #10 “No Family.”
Although Gamora may be called Thanos’ daughter, it couldn’t be further from the truth. She was captured, removed from her family, tortured, modified, and put through emotional and mental anguish. While this may sound like your family to some of you, it wasn’t hers. As she declares to Drax “I'm no family to Ronan or Thanos.” She betrayed and abandoned her “family,” but for her own reasons. I doubt Thanos is going to sit in his floaty space chair and weep about it, but she still walked away when it came time. In some senses this is what we are called to do. I’m not telling you that you have to leave your family, but we have to be willing to put our faith over everything, including them at times. In Matthew 10:37-38 Jesus puts it boldly and clearly, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” But In leaving her “Family” at the right time Gamora found a true family, and Jesus promises us the same in Mark 10 “29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
Track #11 “Pelvic Sorcery.”
So yeah, Peter Quill has game. So there’s no reason to doubt that playing the right song for a girl overlooking the cosmos is a sure winning situation, except that Gamora is a little smarter. As she places a blade to his throat she lets him know “I will not succumb to your pelvic sorcery!” Being that I have 3 very beautiful
daughters, this scene made me very very happy. In fact I plan on putting it on repeat as they grow up. But in Gamora’s case she barely knew Peter. She’s lived her whole life being abused and manipulated by one person or another, she was wise to exercise caution when it came to her emotions and affections. It takes us not only knowing what God teaches, but applying it, as it’s repeated in Proverbs 2, “12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse,” and “16 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words.” So guard yourselves with Godly wisdom, so that someone doesn’t take advantage of you....also having really sharp blades helps...just kidding on the blades...not really...but still.
Drax: Track #12 “Nothing goes over my head.” Drax speaks in literal terms. Which makes life difficult for a semi-hero who spouts 80’s references constantly. One of the funniest things in the film was the ongoing remarks coming from Dave Bautista to his cohorts. One great thing though is that you never had to worry about what he was thinking or what his true intentions were in any given situation. He spoke them clearly and without filter. We’re taught in scripture that this is how a believer should speak as well. Not that we should make false promises or water things down, but that in many ways our words should be as clear and trustworthy as Drax’s. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:37 “But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.” Like Drax, people should not have to question the honesty, sincerity, or hidden agendas of our speech. If they do why should they ever trust anything we tell them about God?
Track #13 “This Dumb Tree.” Drax has spent so much time on a path to avenge his family and being a destroyer that he hasn’t exactly built lasting relationships. Even on his miss- adventures aboard the Milano he didn’t make it easy for anyone to actually enjoy his company. He almost killed Gamora himself, then he called Ronan which actually did come close to killing Gamora and Quill, effectively getting them both captured by Ravagers. So yeah, not the easiest company. But one thing he did when all was said and done was appreciate the people who stood beside him. “I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am that you've accepted me despite my blunders. It is good to once again be among friends.” How often do we actually pause and take inventory of the people in our life who love us and endure us even at our worst? Maybe you should follow his lead and let those people know you truly consider them a friend, but use better word choice. Proverbs 22:24-25 shows us what it’s like to be friends with Drax “Do not make friends with a hot- tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” But Proverbs 17:17 shows us what friendship should look like, even with people like Drax. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Ronan The Accuser Track #14 “You Stand Accused.” So when your surname is “The Accuser,” you generally know what to expect from a person. Just on the film alone, Ronan had an agenda to bring down the people of Xandar for things that happened to his people even generations before his was born. He couldn’t be reasoned with or made peace with; he existed solely to bring about the ruin of those people. That reminds me of Jesus’s description of Satan in John 10:10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy....” and Ronan didn’t even care about stealing. Ronan, like Satan, has an agenda to bring destruction against people. But just like so many people on Xandar were clueless as to what Ronan was doing, most people, even Christians, don’t even give a thought to what Satan may be doing in the world around us, or even our own personal lives. 1 Peter 5:8 makes it clear “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Now sadly with Satan I doubt we are going to be able to distract him with a dance off, although that would make spiritual warfare a million times more entertaining. Our accuser is a little tougher to take down than Ronan, but thankfully our Savior can handle it. Check out Revelation 12:10-11 and look how this is going to go down in the end; “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death....” Just like Ronan seemed too big a foe for the guardians to handle, Satan may seem too big for us, but our Savior packs more punch than an infinity gem, so yes indeed “oooooooohhhhhh child things are gonna get easier, ooooooooooohhhhh child things will get brighter.”