Who Do You Kneel To?

3 Jun

One scene from The Avengers particularly stands out to me, the moment when Loki demands an assemble of people to bow to him:

“Kneel before me. I said… KNEEL! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”

An elderly German man in the crowd realizes that Loki’s statement holds some truth, but adds some truth in his own statement: “Not to men like you.” Captain America’s response to the claim that Loki is God reiterates the German man’s point, that we were made to kneel to the one true God.

“There’s only one God, ma’am. And I don’t think He dresses like that.”

So how does God dress? He dresses himself in humanity. Completely vulnerable With a human heart from His moments as a baby humbled in a cave, to His nakedness on the cross. Still today, this one God shows His human heart in the Eucharist. Marc T. Newman, Ph.D., comments on this line:

“The Avengers live in a fictional world filled with superheroes and villains. The forces at work are very powerful: evil against good, damnation or salvation – but even the resources of superheroes are limited. Many things are dressed up as gods, but are not. The same is true in our own world. Our battles are real. The stakes are high. Some put themselves forward as our saviors. But there is only one God, and He doesn’t dress like that. He is not limited, though He is patient…Distinguishing this God from all pretenders is the great quest of life.”

Although Loki’s statement lacks love, it is true that our search for power and identity can separate joy from freedom. Loki talks about the “myth of freedom”, but really we have the option between two types of freedom: the Freedom of choice vs Freedom for excellence.

What Loki fails to see is the Freedom for excellence. The freedom where we choose to be the person we were made to be. This does mean we choose to kneel, but kneeling before our creator does not cause us to lose our joy. When we kneel before our creator, we realize we are His creation. We realize we were created in His loving likeness, our identity is as His son or daughter, ambassadors to His perfect kingdom.

Loki is caught up in the Freedom of choice, the choice to reign in Hell rather than to serve in Heaven. This is the freedom separated from joy, driven by power, and causes us to attach our identity to lesser things. Ultimately, the freedom of choice leads us to kneel to the wrong things: ourselves, sin, and worldly pleasures. When we see ourselves as gods, we are bound to be let down. Romans 1:25 sums up this choice pretty well:

“…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…”

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