The True Burden of a “Glorious Purpose” (Broken Season – Part Two) – Finding God in Video Games

WARNING – Loki Season Two Finale spoilers are ahead, so please turn back and come back to us if you want to complete that journey spoiler-free. Everyone good? Well… that was certainly something. After years of watching Loki’s transformation unfold across multiple MCU movies and two seasons of his own series, it has come to this… Loki has made the ultimate “sacrifice play”, not just to save his brother Thor, but to protect the life and free will of every creature across the multiverse. As the events of his series came to a close, we saw the final steps in the journey of this selfish, manipulative trickster as he finally understood and accepted what the burden of a “glorious purpose” truly meant. Gone was the ego and hubris of the villain who previously commanded others to bow down and serve him, replaced with a being who had discovered humility and found the willingness to serve at the highest of costs… and as he finally used his powers for fully unselfish purposes, the ultimate version of “Loki” emerged to create the “World Tree” that brought the entire multiverse into harmony. The cost? Oh, just his life for all of eternity, apparently. As Loki ascended to take a throne that he no longer coveted at the end of time, the irony of his voyage became clear… as long as he sought power in order to impose his will on others, he was always destined to lose. But when he made the decision to become a servant of those he previously sought to use, he achieved the power and position he no longer desired. He was finally worthy of holding something much more powerful than Mjolnir… he’s got the responsibility of protecting the whole multiverse in his hands.

Loki’s narrative arc is far more than simply a redemption story, it is a “rebirth”… a full metamorphosis from the narcissistic ambition that previously possessed him into a servant leader who now has as much power as any other character across Marvel’s infinite multiverse. But that great power came with… you guessed it, great responsibility. And it was only when Loki finally understood the true purpose of this power that he was able to use it to its fullest potential… it was designed to SERVE by giving life and hope to others. As long as he sought to abuse it in pursuit of his own goals, his schemes always came to tragic ends. But once he applied his capabilities to unselfishly and sacrificially serve others, he became more powerful than he could have ever imagined… a burden he now willingly carries for all time, always.

As the credits rolled on the series finale, the enormity of the sacrificial choice that was made started to truly sink in. A choice that we are all called to… no, we aren’t going to be weaving parallel realities into a massive living tapestry, but we DO have a calling to a glorious purpose that is packaged in the form of a “burden” as well. And nowhere in Scripture is the ambition of Christ’s followers and the juxtaposition of the servant leadership that Christ has called us to more powerfully displayed than in the moment Christ paused His path to the cross to wash His disciples feet. But before we can get there, we need to set the stage for why this lesson had to be taught in the first place. Ambition and pride are unfortunately just as present in the church as it is in the world… and two of Christ’s disciples took their desire for a throne to a whole new level when they boldly asked Christ for preeminent positions above their fellow followers in Matthew 20…

Matthew 20:20-28 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers.  But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

While I think we all agree that this was WAY out of line, here is a challenging thought I have been forced to ponder… is this selfish way of thinking truly that unique in the body of Christ? If I am being honest, how many of my prayers are truly for the full benefit and enrichment of others, even if it comes at the expense of my own goals and comfort? How many of my thoughts and ambitions primarily serve the gratification of my own desires… the desire to be successful, appreciated, well-liked, or highly regarded? While I doubt any of us would feel the boldness required to ask Christ if we can sit at his right hand, I believe we are ALL guilty of seeing the fulfilment of our dreams and visions as a priority in our lives… in my most private and urgent thoughts and prayers, I will candidly admit that even my prayers for others are often given with an impact to my own agenda in mind. Yes, I will pray for your healing… mostly for your benefit, but it is also because as my family member I selfishly don’t want to lose you. Certainly, I want everyone’s mission for Christ to be successful… but would I be truly honest with myself if I didn’t hope that your success also mutually benefits my mission for Him? Even when I am truly seeking the will of God for others, that “selfish Loki” ambition finds a way to ask for a “little something for me, too”. And in a truly sobering thought, perhaps the reason many of us don’t see the manifestation of Christ’s power and the answers to our prayers is because our requests lack the humility that serving His “glorious purpose” requires… utter and complete sacrifice of our selfish desires in order to serve His greater good.

James 4:1-3 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 

Let’s get back to James and John, our “throne seekers”. These followers of Christ had given up their lives to follow and serve Him, but they still lacked the essential ingredient of humility that would help them understand that thrones and crowns in the kingdom of heaven are reserved for those who are not pursuing them… these are the same two followers who wanted to use the power that Christ had given them to help and to heal to call down fire from heaven and against those who rejected them (Luke 9:50-55). They had access to the power but missed the point of its use… the service of Christ’s mission to seek and to save the lost. And if we want to see the power of Christ fully revealed in our lives and His response to our prayers, we must heed the lesson that Loki finally learned… it is only when we yield ourselves as a vessel to be a servant to ALL that we can finally see the fulness of His destiny for our lives come to fruition.

John 13:2-6 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

John 13:12-17 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Christ’s final action before placing His feet on the path to His cross was to fully demonstrate “servant leadership” to His followers by washing their feet… an act typically reserved for servants. And He washed ALL of their feet, including Judas the betrayer who was still present at that time. In our familiarity with this action, can we just pause to consider that Jesus Himself, the One who is seated in a throne at the right hand of the Father, literally scrubbed the filthy, dirty feet of not only His disciples but of His traitor as well? And in this ultimate display of humility, the Lord Himself raised the standards of love by lowering Himself to a role that unselfishly served both allies and enemies. And in His example, we see the paradox of true greatness fully realized… in the kingdom of heaven the last will be first and the first will be last (Matthew 20:20-28). As Loki found over and over again before finally seeing the futility of his path, those who try to grasp the crown for their own benefit will find it permanently out of their grasp, but those who seek to serve in the true spirit of servanthood will receive a crown we can never lose.

The temptation that was presented to Christ in Matthew 4 is the same one Loki faced… the identical challenge we all battle in our lives. Jesus was offered a shortcut to glory that bypassed the pain and the struggle, offering Him the crown and the throne without the sacrifice. But the Lord chose to drink from the bitter cup instead, humbly submitting His personal best interests and comfort to save those who were doomed without His acceptance of His burden. In a world where so many seek to be identified with honor and glory, Jesus chose to be remembered as a foot washer. In his path to rebirth, Loki rejected his previous drive to exalt himself and finally saw the needs and dreams of others as greater than his own… and it was at that moment that his power reached its maximum potential, and his destiny was fully realized. And if we want to see our God given dreams and our innermost prayers come to pass, we will also find that it is when our arms are unselfishly stretched out to act as a conduit between the Lord’s power and the needs of others that our “glorious purpose” on this planet will be achieved. Not by our own strength, ingenuity or machinations… not through our plans or even our most well-meaning mutually beneficial actions. It is only when we fully die to our own desires and secret ambitions that the Lord’s full power can come to rest with a purpose that gives Him ALL the glory. Let’s choose to make ourselves and the fulfillment of our own desires a distant last to the needs of others… let’s “wash the feet” of our fellow disciples’ prayers and unselfishly support the achievement of their God-given dreams. And if we do this with a pure heart we will find, just as Loki did, that the “glorious purpose” we were seeking was hidden in plain sight all along… a burden that can only be discovered when we are willing to be a servant to all.

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