Loki: [to crowd] 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.
German Old Man: [Stands] Not to men like you.
Loki: There are no men like me.
German Old Man: There are always men like you.
(quote taken from IMDB.)
I went to go see the Avengers again. At one point, Loki attacks a crowd of fancy German types. As he forces them to bow, he makes the speech you see right there. And both times I saw the film, I wondered at the subtext.
Loki is meant to be the bad guy. He’s got no problem killing people if he wants. He aches for power. He loves mind games. In short, he makes a delightful villain that you enjoy rooting against. And then… he makes this speech.
Does the speech sound familiar at all? It does to me. It’s a Christian speech, cruelly twisted.
Let me explain: We were created to give all glory to God. We were created to worship him. And in heaven, Revelation says that we will serve our Father day and night before the Throne (Revelation 7:15). So, in other words… yeah, we really were created to serve. We were created to be ruled by our God.
And here’s where sin steps in. See, all we know by nature is the slavery of sin. We are convinced it’s a good slavery, that in fact we’re free, but we’re chained up by it. And it’s not a nice master. We know by nature only the overbearing, sneering face of being ruled that this sinful world gives us. We see faces like Loki’s. Insert your least favorite politician here. Or, as the “old German man” says it, “There are always men like you.” And there are. As long as there is sin, men will attempt to rule over us, and it will not be pleasant. We see burdensome labor under such rulers. We see injustice. We see things that simply aren’t fair. Our sinful minds take that ruling and says that anyone ruling over us must be like that.
Except… God is no man. Jesus doesn’t rule like that. His yoke is gentle. His ruling activity in our lives is like nothing else we’ve ever experienced. Being Jesus’ servant really is freedom — not “freedom from freedom” like Loki wanted to place over the planet. “For when the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Jesus frees you from the slavery of sin. And make no mistake, by nature we are slaves. “He who sins is a slave to sin.” You might be able to transfer control from one sin to a different sin, but sin will always whip you into doing what it wants. But Jesus! He has shattered those chains and made you free. And now you live in the glorious light of that Son.
And now we get to serve him! And it’s an awesome thing! It’s a thing we choose to do, because he has freed us from the slavery of sin. And how will I bring glory to God today? Well, at the moment, by writing a blog post. Later on I’ll be working on a sermon. And then going out and visiting people in their homes. I could forget all that and prepare for Bible study. That would bring glory to God, too. Or maybe I could go and spend all day with my family. All these things bring glory to God! (My normal family day is Friday, but I’ve already spent a good chunk of time reading with the kids and we’ll play later, too. Just not all day today!)
I don’t know if Joss Whedon was thinking of Christianity when he wrote that into the screenplay. He may have been, or he may simply have thought of a twisted way to portray how power-hungry Loki is. Whether or not he intended to make me think of my faith, he did remind me of it.
We really were made to be ruled — but not by Loki. Not by men like him. We were created to be ruled by God — and his leadership is unlike any we’ve ever experienced on this earth. It’s a good thing. His leadership truly is freedom.
And I will bow to that!