A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Still Worthy

by Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, Ashland First United Methodist Church,  Ashland, Ohio.
In order to wield Mjolnir, one must be worthy. The hammer of lore finds its home in the grip of Thor, mythical god of thunder. It is powerful and I don't believe it makes mistakes and I really like it when it zooms to the rescue. 

Recently a cuddled-on-the-couch kind of night brought me to tears because winter is hard and even watching the Avengers (yet again) can confront a person with themselves. 

In the last installment, our ever-powerful Thor has blanketed his abs in a layer or two of warming fluff. He avoids reality and wears stretchy pants and, it seems, has a really hard time trying to connect then to now to any promise of a happier tomorrow. Better to hunker down. Better to order another pizza. Better to yell at another teenager on some online game to feel even the slightest hint of accomplishment. Asgard has fallen and Thor spiraled behind. 

But, after a few laughs and a breaking point and a couple stolen moments with his lost mother, we see Thor's eyes begin to clear. The pep talk works. He seems amenable to eating a salad at a kind, maternal suggestion. He stands and confidently raises his arm, hopeful, waiting. 

"Sometimes it takes a while," assures the Queen of Asgard. 

And, sure enough, Mjolnir rushes into the palm of its one, true love. Still carrying that bushy beard, those unwashed locks, those few extra pounds, our hero smiles and looks at his old friend. 

"I'm still worthy," says Thor. 

And I am shattered. 

It seems the only hammer most of us know how to use is the kind that turns inward. Rather than slaying and avenging, we convince ourselves that a good smack here and there is what we deserve. That berating builds character. That we are nothing, nothing, nothing. Mjolnir lays on the ground beside us, as useless as we deem it to be.

But Thor, covered in stains: still worthy. 

Thor, weeping on his mother's shoulder: still worthy.

Thor at the lowest point in his long life, only just beginning to lift his chin: still worthy. 

And I think of that pathetic little hammer I have wedged in my brain, then my gut, then my heart. It seems that Mjolnir weeps (stick with me here, it is a myth after all) because I don't even look its way. 

But maybe, like we see with the god of thunder, worth is not necessarily polish, or bravery, or joy. Worth, it seems, is only contingent upon existing. 

Human, at the end of a hard day full of mistakes: still worthy. 

Human, frustrated by tears that refuse banishment: still worthy. 

Human, with only enough gumption for sweats and frozen pizza, who has to leave the phone in the other room in order to take deep breaths, who only has enough energy to do the exhausting work of surviving: still worthy, still worthy, still worthy.

In light of Mjolnir's power, vibrating in our hands, cheering us on despite it all, I think we can keep going. It seems we are worthy after all.

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