Written by Teresa Goodnight
My four-year old daughter was in awe of Captain Marvel. The show was much too old for her, but I had wanted to take my 17-year old niece to inspire her. When I described the show over the Bluetooth in the car—my kiddo insisted it was a movie for her. I decided to comply and took them both.
I’m not a superhero junkie, but Captain Marvel exemplifies an oppressed person with amazing power. Because she was convinced by the world she lived in that she was less than she was, her strength was buried by lies. She was imprisoned by rules crafted to control her, as well as emotional manipulation used to dominate her. When she finally realized the truth and shed the deception, she set free the strength and power suppressed inside of her. When she did, the whole theater about flew out of our seats with excitement.
Does her power being minimized by her world remind you of anything today? Are you seeing Christians being pressed back into a corner? Told our beliefs in the Bible aren’t correct? Told we need to modify the Bible to fit the culture today? Sound familiar at all?
This morning at the City Elders meeting, I heard a description of who we are meant to be as the Body of Christ, the capital “C” Church. It painted quite a picture. Being in the midst of some of the most devastating floods our state has known—we can see firsthand the power of the force of water. I can see it in the movement of the risen rivers. Their immense forces were set free a bit, but still controlled by the flood gates and levies. We were reminded that when the river starts to show its real power, we are forced to step back and get out of the way.
However, imagine the waters from all of the rivers and lakes rising so that you could no longer identify the origination point of the water. Imagine those smaller entities flowing together as a massive, powerful force, sweeping across the land. The power of those waters would be definitive as a body but really unidentifiable as a specific source. They would just be the massive floodwaters—full of strength, unleashing their power.
The question at the meeting? What if the Body of Christ approached God’s work for the Kingdom with such united strength and power that it could only be credited to that capital “C” Church? (as opposed to church x or y or denomination a or b).
It’s a concept that seems a bit foreign to us, as the size of communities has grown to give thousands of smaller church groups their own form of a “kingdom” inside of the Kingdom. However, looking at the Bible, we read the smaller church groups addressed from the same leadership of the Church. They were all very much a part of the Capital “C” Church but were grouped together to spread the word and to disciple as smaller groups. Since there were fewer of these smaller groups in the disciples’ time, it was much easier for them to know in their core that they were part of the larger unified Body of Christ. The Bible clearly points to the disciples and Paul as those charged with leading that capital “C” Church. Paul went from church to church with guidance and direction, which was put into the Bible to give that same guidance to each of our churches today.
The Bible is full of books written specifically to the churches by the governing authorities put in place by God. My favorite, Romans, was written to the churches in Rome by Paul. Peter writes his book First Peter, as a letter to the Jewish Christians who are spread around the Roman Empire. First and Second Corinthians; Paul writes to the churches he planted in Corinth. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, First and Second Thessalonians are all written directly to churches or groups of churches in a geographic area. It was quite clear these churches were very much a part of the Body of Christ. They were teaching and training while being a part of the bigger picture. They were growing the Kingdom of Christ and not just their specific churches. These letters were also assembled into the Bible, God’s word. That alone gives that stronger unification as their role was in the capital “C” Church.
As instructed, that Church spread throughout the world doing exactly what God instructed them to do.
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
Lip Service to the Capital “C” Church
With those smaller entities growing (some quite massively) in size and being separated by greater distances, the sense of simply being a local governing entity of a group of Christ’s followers became lost in the shuffle. Don’t get me wrong. We like to say it. We speak of being a part of the bigger capital “C” Church, but we honestly move about in our own affairs with very little time to pull our thoughts out to the original Kingdom entity created in the New Testament. The result? The separation of church and church and The Church.
Sure, there are different worship styles, prayer styles, preferred worship times, places, and spaces but at the end of the day, all of the Christian churches are the Body of Christ. We are united, as one, on God’s word. We are inseparable by the adoption as the Children of God through the sacrifice God made of His Son Jesus Christ for the WHOLE world.
We are all sinners saved by grace. People who have messed up in one way or another and were separated from God by those mistakes. People who have accepted that Jesus Christ died and rose again, paying the price for our mistakes. By accepting his gift, we all became united as Children of God, the Body of Christ. We have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, full of power, full of might, to advance for the Kingdom of God. Together, we are HIS capital “C” Church.
No Division in the End
It’s certainly not going to be a divided house in heaven. God’s Kingdom will most definitely unite, but what if God is waiting on us to come together now? What if we went back to the roots of THE Church to find the position of “our” church in that Kingdom? Wow. We would transform into THE CHURCH, the Bride of Christ. We would operate in such a way that we know the Gates of Hell (the powers) could not prevail against us—just as Christ said they would not. We would be a mighty force sweeping across this land, coming into the power of God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us. There would be no levy, no flood gate, and no dam that could stop us. Not one. Can you even imagine it?
Back to the Avengers
I’ll circle back to the Captain Marvel story to bring it all together. She finally found who she was and came into her incredible power bursting out of the control of those who tried to put her in a box.
“When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:14-20 (NLT)
More than we might ask or think? There is so much power promised to the children of God in just those 6 verses than we can even imagine? Hmmm. As we cower back, we slip into a comfortable place giving away our freedom, surrendering our God-given powers. We have yet to break free and rise up as a force to be reckoned with, who will not be shoved into a corner. With all of the thousands of churches around the world, it’s time to go back to the Bible and remember who we are. We are the children of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. With that identity comes great power–”more than we might ask or think.” Can you imagine every church finding God’s power inside of us? What would that even look like? I can imagine quite a bit. So MORE than that?
So, hold on.
Imagine even greater things with me.
After all, God says it’s more than we can even think of. As incredible as Captain Marvel’s day of awakening was–in the last Avengers, I can draw a parallel to the Body of Christ, the Church that might blow you away like it did me. In the end of the movie, each of the hundreds of superheroes realized they were not meant to do this battle alone. They couldn’t win. They discovered a plan set in motion long before they knew there would even be a war of such great proportion.
The bigger, more popular hero guys we know and love were losing the battle. It was nearing the end. Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, with a force of might—“they” showed up. “They” being the rest of the united heroes in the land. They combined in their fullest forms and power to defeat their ultimate enemy. You could see each one playing a critical part. When they converged—there was that mighty feeling that this war was over. The enemy would be defeated. You just knew.
Rest assured, I’ve read Revelation. God will unite us as a mighty force with heaven and earth in the end. What a day that will be. However, what I read in the Bible calls us to remember that unification and who we are today. I don’t think we’re supposed to wait. We are in the battle right now. On some fronts, in our great country, we are losing, but my heart almost explodes with excitement to think of what a force we could become if we united as the Church of God. Can you imagine? United, with His power working in us that is more powerful than we might ask or think? did you read what I just thought of? More powerful than even that???
It would far surpass any unification of the bodies of waters into a massive force. It would eclipse any show of power in the Avengers. I can’t sit still even as I’m typing this as the excitement of just a hint of God’s power rises up inside of me. That power by the way–it is already inside of any of us following Christ. It’s just sitting there, masked by confusion, deception. It’s shackled by chains put on by others or even by ourselves in some ways. Satan has us in some sort of trance with the things of this life, but it is RIGHT THERE. Whatever way you want to think about it–it’s right there. It’s RIGHT THERE WAITING. God is waiting.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13 New Living Translation (NLT)
“And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” Ephesians 1:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
May each church find its strength. May it rise up to take it’s part in the Kingdom, God’s capital “C” Church, the “Body of Christ,” whichever name He gives for that unity that you want to use. Because, when we do come together, when we do put our stake in the ground and draw our line in the sand, we will come into that Kingdom of God as His Children and the Gates of Hell WILL simply NOT PREVAIL against us. They won’t win.
What are we waiting for? #GoDoBe