The Avengers is one of my favorite movies. It's also a favorite of my children, so I have seen it dozens of times. It's a great story of adventure, good vs. evil, loyalty and friendship - not to mention Robert Downey, Jr.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie takes place about halfway through. The Avengers have all gathered together in a room, and although they all want the same thing - to defeat the bad guys, in this case Loki's army - they have not yet become a group. They are still individuals with extraordinary gifts and talents trying to do this thing on their own. As the group gathers in Dr. Banner's lab, they begin to argue. Everyone in the room is somewhat used to being in charge, and everyone thinks they have the best idea about what to do next. Some feel betrayed by the others, and some are worried that others' gifts are going to destroy them all. The argument among these six people becomes more and more heated to the point where the audience can hardly even hear what is being said.
While their fighting escalates, their enemy approaches. No one is paying attention as those that mean to destroy them actually board their own aircraft. Had they been vigilant or working together, they might not have been so distracted, but because they can't work together, the enemy seizes the day. The result is the temporary loss of two of their members, countless deaths and injuries to nameless crewmen, the almost complete decimation of the Helicarrier, and the death of someone dear to them all.
As I was watching this the first time, I could not help but think of the Church. The Church is made up of many people with extraordinary gifts. Most of them have the same goal - fighting the enemy and seeing as many people saved as possible. However, everyone has a different idea about how that should be done. Some groups are scared of others' ideas and gifts. Many people are used to being in charge and aren't willing to relinquish control. As a result, we often don't see the enemy attacking until it's too late, and there are needless casualties.
However, there is hope. All is not lost. Looking back at the movie, the Avengers learn to use their gifts as a team in order to win the war. They allow others to give the orders, and they learn that the only way to succeed is to work together. It stops being about the individual and becomes about the team. That's really what The Avengers is about - a group of extraordinary individuals becoming a team that comes together to save the world.
So the question is - can the Body of Christ learn the same lesson? Can we stop being suspicious of each other and learn to listen to one another? Can we all stop trying to be in control and allow our gifts to work together? In the movie, it took a great tragedy to bring everyone together. What kind of disaster has to happen in order for us to quit fighting each other and start fighting together?
In the end, there is only one way to effectively fight our enemy, and no one person or group of believers can do it on their own. We were designed to need one another. Hopefully we can learn our lesson from The Avengers and come together to see the victory we all so desire to see.