My daughter and I recently watched the newest Marvel Studios movie Black Panther. The script is thoughtful, well-written, and thought provoking. I will not attempt to recap or review the movie here, but want to share a few thoughts.

“Black Panther” the superhero is the secret identity of the king of Wakanda, a place which from the outside appears to be an impoverished country in Africa. Wakanda’s true nature as a leader in technology and infrastructure, however, remains hidden from the rest of the world. 

There is a constant tension throughout the movie about whether Wakanda should be more progressive in serving other nations or keep its resources and knowhow to itself. Even though this is a fictional movie, I see important implications for the church. 

Our world is hurting and, as the church, we have the message of hope—the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel, that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, announces a loving and holy God reconciles hurting people to Himself. 

This reconciliation with God brings freedom from the past, peace and assurance in the present, and hope for the future. It also is the basis for reconciliation with each other and has the power to bring down the walls that divide us racially, economically, and politically. 

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Our world is hurting, maybe more now than ever. The effects of personal, political, and social sin and injustice have taken their toll on individuals and entire communities and nations. Divisions of race, national origin, political persuasion, and economic status abound. Satan is implementing his old strategy of “divide and conquer” to its fullest extent.   

Our job as the church is not to keep to ourselves, circle our wagons, and wait for Jesus’s return. We must go beyond the borders of our church building and membership roll to carry the love and message of Christ to our hurting world, just like the first century church in Acts.

No super spandex suit or secret identity is required, just a surrendered heart willing to follow and obey Jesus at all costs and a willingness to see people through His eyes.