We’re in the season of the Black Panther, and people are taking inspiration from the movie in a variety of ways. I’m not saying that the movie was made with any deep religious meaning in mind. However, if we keep our minds on God in all we do, HE can speak through whatever we do. The same goes with this movie. When we look at it, there are a lot of similarities between Wakanda and the Body of Christ A.K.A Christians.
Wakanda is a nation made from a merging of disparate tribes united by the importance they saw in Vibranium, a “gift” sent to the earth from the heavens via a meteor. We Christians come from all walks of life, and we are united by our faith and trust in God and acceptance of HIS Great Gifts (HIS Love, Grace unto salvation, and the advent of the Holy Spirit) sent from Heaven. In the movie, Vibranium is the greatest metal in the world. It is strong and versatile and is the basis for a science that is able to solve a variety of problems, and even bring someone back from the verge of death. God’s Gifts are the most valuable Gifts anyone could ever receive. God’s Word contains the knowledge and wisdom that when read using the insight of the Holy Spirit can get us through any problem. And Jesus’ sacrifice (death, burial, and resurrection) offers us salvation from sin and ultimately death. The Wakandans grew arrogant because of their advancement due to the presence of Vibranium. They believed themselves to be above those around them and closed themselves off from the world to keep the great gift and all that came with it to themselves. Sometimes we as Christians believe our acceptance of God’s Gifts makes us “different” from others and raises us above them. Sometimes we spend more time praising ourselves and each other for accepting those Gifts than we do spreading those Gifts to those outside of our group.
Now we get in to spoiler territory, but the desire by the Wakandans to maintain the status quo led to the creation of an enemy (Killmonger) that came back to sow discord among the people of Wakanda and even attempt to enact a plan to weaponize Vibranium for the purpose of waging war on the world. We too have an enemy, sin, that, at times, is purely of our own creation, and it can cause discord within the Body of Christ. That sin can also lead us to misuse God’s Gifts. Haven’t we all seen examples of people weaponizing the Word of God and using it to tear down and attack nonbelievers rather than to uplift them and help them to see the Love of GOD? Ultimately, the Wakandans overcame their enemy. They regained their unity and made the right choice to open up and share Vibranium with the world in an attempt to make it a better place. Will we do the same? Will we put aside the petty differences that may separate us from our brothers and sisters in Christ and commit ourselves more fully to sharing God’s Gifts in an attempt to save the world? Or will we continue to cling to our status quo and leave those around us to the deaths brought on by sin? The Bible is clear. Ezekiel 33:8 says:
When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.
The passage is telling us that we can save our fellow man from the death brought by sin. God’s Gifts are the keys to their salvation, but if we do not share those keys, their blood will be on our hands. Let’s make the Wakandan choice and make a more concerted effort to open up and get God’s Gifts out to the world.