The quest is the ultimate story formula. Since the days (and probably before) of Beowulf there has been the quest genre. And it is so today with movies, TV, and even these things called books (kinda like an analog version of an e-book you get on your Kindle or iPad). Each quest begins with something having to be done in order to save, restore, fix, or return something.
That is true with the summer blockbuster The Guardians of the Galaxy. A rag tag group of outlaws and misfits come together for a quest, a quest to save the people of not only the planet Xanadar but the galaxy itself.
It’s an interesting quest to say the least. Ronin the Accuser, by the direction of the evil Tyrant Thanos, is going to destroy the planet Xanadar who had been at war and now at peace with Ronin’s people the Kree for generations. He wants to wipe them out. Gamora, the genetically enhanced and adoptive daughter of Thanos, is horrified and plans to stop him.
Enter Star Lord (aka Peter Quill) a thief, scavenger, treasure hunter who finds an orb, which unbeknownest to him, contains an Infinity Stone which can give power to it’s holder and be used to, well, do not good things.
Long and short, when the rag tag group of Drax the Destroyer, Rocket the Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, and Star Lord find out the plans of Ronin the Accuser, the realize they need to go forward and save Xanadar, laying down their own lives in the process.
I’ve been reading the tome/magnus opus The Mission of God by Christopher J H Wright. Wright argues in his book that God is on a mission, he is a God of mission. From the moment Adam and Eve rebelled against God, tried to be gods themselves knowing good and evil, God has been at work to bring His people back to Himself.
He begins by giving the mission to Abraham, that through Abraham the nations will be blessed. That Abraham is blessed by God to be a blessing to the nations so that the nations will know God. As the years go by, Abraham’s descends, the people of Israel, are delivered out of Egypt through Ten Plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea. God’s mighty hand of redemption is shown. God on a mission delivers His people from oppression into living for Him. And God gives His people a way to live so that they might reflect Him to the nations, to be a light to the nations so that the nations would be blessed by God through Him.
Israel didn’t do so well. They split kingdoms, the kings were evil, they rebelled, were taken into exile for 70 years because they were stupid politically and spiritually. And God still brought His people back and called them to reflect who He was to the nations by doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with Him.
And then God sent Jesus, God in the Flesh, the second person of the Trinity, to show the people how to be a light to the nations, to be able to come back to God, and proclaim the coming Kingdom of God. And when Jesus died upon the cross, the kingdom came. But it will come in fullness when Jesus returns.
And then Jesus did something interesting. He took God’s call to the nation of Israel to be a light to the nations, to reflect who God was, and charged the church also with the same thing (it didn’t transfer over, just got added to). As followers of Jesus, the church is on a mission from God (no, not in the Blues Brothers sense but an actual mission).
The God of mission sent Jesus who in turn gives us power and authority and sends us out to reflect the coming kingdom of God. It’s a tough mission. The church really is made up of a rag tag group of messed up broken people who don’t do things always the best way. Mistakes are made. Dumb things are said and done. We’re imperfect people following a perfect God, trying to reflect the most perfect person, Jesus, in what we do.
If it wasn’t for Gamora’s heart breaking and not wanting the people of Xanadar to be wiped out, Star Lord, Drax, Rocket, and Groot would never have come together to stop Ronin from genocide. It was their quest, their mission to lay down their lives for these people they didn’t even know in order to save them from a destruction they didn’t fully know about until the final awesome battle of the movie.
The church is on a quest, on a mission from God. It’s not about obtaining the Infinity Stone. It’s not about fighting the evil tyrant Thanos and his cronies. It’s about going forth, out your front door, into the world, and telling of the salvation found in Jesus, of God working to bring His people back into relationship with Him, and being a blessing to others, allowing God to bless them through you.
It’s a tough mission. It’s a tough quest. But if you’re up to it, the rewards are amazing.