Part of the Journey Is the End
NO SPOILERS, I haven’t seen the movie yet. It’s safe to read this blog post.
The first trailer for Avengers: Endgame was released months ago and featured a narration by Iron Man in which he says, “Part of the journey is the end.”
Part of the journey is the end—except in comic books. Half the heroes died in the previous movie, and in this installment the remaining heroes assemble to undo the villain’s actions. By some means or another, resurrection must be the solution to the problem. (It’s probably coincidence that Marvel Studios released this movie during the week of Easter, right?)
In a later trailer, Captain America promised to do “whatever it takes” to resurrect the other heroes. Those are effectively the same words Jesus spoke in the Garden of Gethsemane the night he was betrayed. He prayed, “Your will be done”—whatever it takes. For Jesus, undoing the actions of the villain meant entering into death on a cross, not for his own sake, but for the sake of everyone else.
Part of the journey is the end—except for Jesus. The end of his life on the cross wasn’t the end. Not through a comic book or movie magic resurrection, but a real, flesh-and-blood resurrection. He defeated death, ripping it open from the inside out as he burst from the tomb. Really. He says, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
Part of the journey is the end—but we live new resurrection lives already today. Our bodily resurrections are in the future, but our spiritual resurrections are in the past, at our Baptisms. St. Paul wrote, “For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). We share in Christ’s resurrection life already today and are alive to God, empowered through the Word and Sacraments to live in ways that please God.
Part of the journey is the end—including the story of the Bible. The first word of Genesis is “In the beginning,” which anticipates an end, a Last Day. There is an ultimate end of history toward which God is moving the universe. The prophetic vision of the end times is that the last things will be like the first things. Through the prophet Isaiah, God said, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:10). God “will create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1). Genesis 1 and 2 is not only the beginning of the story, it is also the scriptural vision of the end of the story.
Part of the journey is the end—and that’s where we want to be. But we don’t want to be there alone. We are surrounded right now by the walking dead, unbelievers who have not yet heard about this gospel news. Let us do “whatever it takes” to rescue them too!
Enjoy the movie!