Till the End of the Line III || Freedom & Friendship in Captain America

“I know I’m asking a lot, but the price of freedom is high; it always has been.”
~ Steve Rodgers~
Captain America & The Winter Soldier

Soo I’ve been on a lil Marvel kick lately; probably ’cause this time of year (late Spring/early Summer) usually means another Marvel movie in theatres & a trip to see it with family & friends. Also probably ’cause Falcon & The Winter Soldier disappointed me greatly & I’m returning to the OG Avengers to comfort myself πŸ™ˆ

Whatever the reason, I just re-watched Captain America & The Winter Soldier &, lovely humans, I’ve noticed things in it that I never paused to really notice before:
freedom & friendship.

Freedom isn’t free. Not just national freedom but real Freedom; Freedom from sin & death.

The price of Freedom is indeed high. It cost the Son of God His life & it costs us our feeble allegiances to earthly causes & to our own personal pleasures.

But, like Steve Rodgers, when you know what you’re fighting for, the price of Freedom is one you’re willing to pay.

I think I’ve always loved Steve as a character but this time, on my 3rd watch of Winter Soldier, I really FELT his determination & resilience. In Captain America: The First Avenger, he says “I can do this all day” & it’s true. He really can do it all day.

He gets back up over&over again to fight another day. & some may call that predictable & stagnant & no room for character development. But I call it dependable & trustworthy & noble & courageous.

When you’re fighting for your life, you don’t want an unpredictable man fighting beside you; you want someone you can count on to cover you. Some may laugh at Captain America & call him old-fashioned but he’s exactly the person you’d want running with you in real life.

Even when everything Steve thought was stable crashes in Winter Soldier,
even when he’s struggling to know whom to trust,
he never loses sight of what he’s really fighting for: truth & freedom (cue the rivalry between him and Tony Stark which led to a *ahem* Civil War).

& when you know what you’re fighting for, it cuts through a lot of the fog & confusion.
If you know the Truth, you can keep your head;
even when your heart is breaking;
even when you’re confused;
even when everything & everyone you’ve trusted crumbles to dust.

&, lovely humans, this is why it’s so important for us to have our ultimate trust in Christ & Christ alone. He doesn’t change; never has & never will.

When you know the Truth, it really does set you free;
free from a slavish reliance on others & their opinions or approval.

Friendship. That’s the 2nd thing I noticed in Winter Soldier.

I mean, I’d noticed it before but it actually brought tears to my eyes this time round. Bucky didn’t know Steve & what a blow that was. 2 friends who’d fought side by side; each presumed dead by the other. & then, on top of all that, Bucky had been mind-wiped & transformed into a killing machine by the enemy aka Hydra.

So when they meet in Winter Soldier & Steve realizes that his childhood friend-turned-comrade-turned-blood-brother doesn’t even recognize him; imagine his sadness & frustration.

It’s like watching a friend turn into a stranger.
Watching someone you’ve shared soul-secrets with;
someone you’ve cried with;
someone you’ve walked through Life with;
someone you’ve made deep memories with;
someone you thought would be there till the end of the line, till your hearts stopped beating & you passed out of this realm.

It’s like watching that person slowly just fade away as they no longer respond to your texts or avoid/ignore you in-person.

Or, perhaps worse, it’s like being apart for a while & then thinking that when you see each other again, things’ll be like they always are & you’ll just pick up where you left off;

only to discover, when you’re face-to-face again, that something’s not quite right.
Something’s changed & you can’t get through to each other anymore like you used to.
You’re riding different wavelengths now & something’s jamming the circuits.

But you make a valiant effort to clear the static ’cause, after all, you guys used to run together & there’s years of friendship on the back-end of this meeting.
So you try the usual jokes & deep conversations;
testing out the language that only the 2 of you spoke so well.
But it comes out rusty & they look confused
& suddenly everything seems like a war
& you’re both on the offensive & defensive simultaneously
& you don’t know why.

& you can feel each other slipping away, like hands that just couldn’t quite reach in the ocean-tide of this Life’s complexities.

That was Steve & Bucky, just on a heightened scale.

& in that situation, we can do a few things:
we can grow bitter & resentful
or we can wave good-bye with a sad smile
or we can keep holding on even when our hearts beg us to let go.

Steve chose the latter. It broke my heart in Winter Soldier when he & Bucky faced each other on a heli-carrier that was going to sink into the Potomac. Steve let his Shield drop, lowered his fists, & said “I’m not going to fight you; you’re my friend.”

Now Bucky still came at him ’cause he was under mind-control but, lovely humans,

if someone we once called a friend ever comes to us & says “I’m not going to fight you anymore; please forgive me & let’s begin again” may the Most High give us the strength & courage & love to open our arms & welcome them home.

It all just reminds me of a Josh Garrels song:

“Hold on, before I slip away.
The flames gone dark, I am afraid.
How strong is flesh and blood?
I cannot take back what I’ve done to you my sweetest friend:
I’ve betrayed you,
I’ve walked away again.

Now all that’s left is what might have been.
Please forgive me before we reach the end.”
~ Josh Garrels ~
“Slip Away”

Ah, lovely humans, may we fight till the end of the line for Freedom & friendship.

Not necessarily political freedom but Freedom in Christ; freedom from sin. This War means mortification; killing sin in your own life before it kills you. It means saturating our minds with Scripture.

& it’ll cost us our time & our energy but honestly, those are small prices to pay compared to what Christ paid on the Cross.

Fighting for friendship means humility & forgiveness & love. This War means vulnerability & sometimes tears & heart-ache but it’s what we’re called to as Christians:
to stir each other up to love & good works in Christ,
till whatever end πŸ–€

silhouettes of Bucky & Steve from Captain America: Civil War :: till the end of the line πŸ–€

P.S. If you’re interested to read more of my Marvel-inspired thoughts, head here Till The End of the Line I | Tony Stark & here Till the End of the Line II | Clint & Natasha (though, be warned, the one on Clint & Natasha is wayy too long…I got a lil carried away after Endgame back in 2019 πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ)

:: we’re in a War, my friends, & we all need Courage on the Front Lines πŸ–€ ::

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