Captain America confronted Nick Fury about what happened on the mission he just completed. He pushed Fury on his secret ways and compartmentalizing.
Fury decides to bring Cap in on what SHIELD is up to: Project Insight
Fury: This is Project Insight, three next generation heli-carriers synced to a network of targeting satellites. (Heli-carriers are air-craft carriers in the sky)
Cap: Launched from the Lumerian Star (the ship that was the target of Cap’s mission, where he saved SHIELD hostages from a terrorist)
Fury: Once we get them in the air, they never need to come down, continual suborbital flight courtesy of our new engines…. These new precision guns can eliminate 1000 hostiles a minute. They can read a terrorists DNA before he steps outside his spider-hole. Going to neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen.
Cap: I thought the punishment usually came after the crime.
Fury: We can’t afford to wait that long.
Cap: Whose we?
Fury: After New York I convinced the World Security Council we needed a quantum surge and threat analysis. For once we are way ahead of the curve.
Cap: By holding a gun to everyone on Earth and calling it protection…
Fury: You know I read those SSR files. The greatest generation… you guys did some nasty stuff
Cap: Yeah, we compromised. Sometimes in ways that made us not sleep so well. But we did it so that people could be free. This isn’t freedom. This is fear.
Fury: SHIELD takes the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. It is getting past time for you to get with that program Captain.
Cap: Don’t hold your breathe….
Cap walks away.
Captain America has been on a journey since being woken up from the ice. He is struggling with ‘following orders,’ especially when they don’t feel right to him. He is beginning to stand in his Moral Center, recognizing that others have agendas that he may not resonate with.
This is an important scene. It marks the beginning of the end for SHIELD, as well as Cap’s awakening more fully to the world-dynamics.
I remember post 9/11. I remember the way in which our government used fear as a tool to persuade people to compromise our values and standards. This began a slippery slope that has brought us to today, to this President who outrightly uses hatred, racism, Islamophobia, and more to bring about his agenda. The ground work was laid by President Bush and his fear-based, war-mongering agenda.
We see that fear-based agenda being played out blatantly right now as we get closer and closer to Election Day. Now the federal government is sending unidentified troops into our cities. These troops are instigating violence where there was only peaceful protesting. Then the President is using that violence, which he created, to grow and deepen the fear that has already been instilled in his base.
When we act out of fear, we perpetuate fear, grow it. When we act out of fear, we are usually acting without thinking. When we act out of fear, we compromise who we are.
Fear is not freedom:
Freedom is conscious. Fear is unconscious.
Freedom invites us to gather insight before acting. Fear causes us to react without objective insight.
Freedom demands respect, respect of others, respect of ourselves. Fear creates adversity and judgement.
Freedom invites vision and hope. It asks us to be our best highest selves. Fear blinds hope and vision. Fear cuts off our soul’s ability to communicate to us. Fear-based living many times creates our worst self.
What does Jesus ask of us? How does the Sacred invite us to live?
In freedom through sacrificial love.
This is so different from fear-based way of being:
We are to Love our neighbor as ourselves.
Greater Love has no one than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. — John 15:13
So very different than fear-based perspective. This is sacrificial Love.
This is an invitation to Conscious Love, a path of Love that is based upon Kenosis. Kenosis is a Greek verb that means to empty oneself. Cynthia Bourgeault writes in The Meaning Of Mary Magdalene, “kenosis is simply the willingness to let things come and go without grabbing on…it as a certain warm spaciousness to it; to the degree that one does not assert one’s own agenda, something else has the space to be.”
She goes on to explain that for Jesus, kenosis is “a direct gateway into a divine reality that can be immediately experienced as both compassionate and infinitely generous.”
This thought is all tied up in Jesus’s commandments above.
These commandments invite us to seek a deeper understanding of another’s life experience and expression. They invite us to see the woundedness of another and offer Compassion there.
If we Love our neighbor’s as ourselves, we learn how to Love through our fears. We learn that fear is no match for Love, that when we come at a situation with Love and Compassion, a resolution shows itself (at some point).
When we lay down our life for a friend, we learn the transformative power of Love through sacrifice. Let me just be clear, this is a metaphorical request. Laying down one’s life invites us to put others first.
Here is an example:
When I was contemplating seminary, my then pastor, Marcus Pomeroy, sat with me offering me spiritual direction. He asked me why I was not answering the Call to ministry.
I explained that the previous pastor to him had been very clear that he would not ordain an out - queer — bisexual person. So I walked away. My thought process was, if I can not get ordained in an Open and Affirming Congregation, where can I get ordained?
Marcus laid his life down for me, responding, “I’ll put my pastoral position on the line to companion you through the ordination process and ordain you.”
No one had ever been willing to sacrifice for me to fulfill my Call. No one had ever said anything like that to me before in my life.
Marcus did not lose his job or ordination. He did indeed advocate passionately, authentically for my ordination. I was the first out queer person to be ordained into Christian ministry through the Philadelphia Baptist Association.
I would not have gone to seminary and stepped into my Call if it was not for his sacrificial conscious Love.
The wall of moms, dads and vets in Portland, OR. Peaceful protests had been happening in Portland, OR. Blacks Lives Matter movement has been strong and continues to call for justice. In response to learning that secret, unmarked police were snatching peaceful protestors off the streets, attacking them and more, a group of moms decided to make a wall to protect these protestors. They stood arm in arm between the federal police and the peaceful protestors. They were met with violence from the federal police.
One mom wrote, "“We tried in earnest to give the kids a break by shifting the pervasive narrative that protesters are rioters,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Case and point, we wore our whitest whites to show that we weren’t there to make trouble, we showed up to prove that feds are the violent ones at protests.” (https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2020/07/the-people-behind-portlands-wall-of-moms.html).
These moms, dads and vets have shown us what sacrificial love is all about, putting their bodies literally on the line to support people crying out for justice.
The world is transformed through Love and Compassionate Sacrifice.
Jesus taught us this powerful path of Love. He showed us how it transforms the world.
Much of Christianity has lost this path, stepped off it somewhere along the way.
We are step back onto the Path of Conscious Love. This is the only way to transform the world and create the Justice we yearn for.
Do you hear Christ’ call to Conscious Love?
Are you ready to leave fear-based living behind you and step once again onto this vital path?
All you need to do is say, “Yes.”
Spirit will guide you forward.
Heed Spirit’s guidance and invitation…
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Steve is still on his search to figure out how he wants to be connected to SHIELD, now that he no longer trusts SHIELD. He stops by the VA to see Sam Wilson, a new friend he met while running at the beginning of Captain American: Winter Soldier.
They engage in conversation about the group Sam was just leading for vets.
Sam: We all have the same issues: guilt, regret.
Cap: You lose someone?
Sam: My wingman. Flying a night mission. Standard rescue op. Nothing we hadn’t done 1000 times before until a RPG knocked him out of the sky. Nothing I could do. It was like I was up there just to watch.
Cap: I’m sorry.
Sam: After that I had a hard time finding a reason for being over there, you know.
Cap: Are you happy now, back in the world?
Same: The number of people giving me orders is down to about zero, so hell yeah. You thinking about getting out?
Cap: Um, I don’t know. To be honest, I don’t know what I would do with myself it I did.
Sam: Ultimate fighting? Just an idea off the top of my head. Seriously, you could do anything that you want to do. What makes you happy?
Cap: (thinking…) I don’t know….
What brings you joy?
This is such a vital question. We usually do not ask it to each other. But when we ask it and listen, really listen, we are given the opportunity to hear their heart’s passion, their Soul’s purpose, their Call.
What brings you joy?
We also do not know how to answer it in this culture. We can easily answer what we do. We can sometimes answer what we enjoy doing, our hobbies. We know what we do for fun, if we do things for fun.
But this stumps us. What brings you joy?
It stumps us because it is not an intellectual question. It is a heart question. Joy is not from the brain like fun, pleasure, work, hobbies, etc. Joy is a heart created experience.
Joy requires us to connect to our hearts.
For some of us, this is scary. We don’t go there. Maybe we have been deeply wounded and we fear feeling that wound every time we connect with our hearts.
Or maybe we have always been in our heads and intellect our entire lives. We truly have never learned how to listen to our hearts. We may think we are, but we are actually being tricked by our brains who are answering for our hearts.
Or what is happening in our culture at this moment, the violence, the mass shootings, the hatred, all is too much for us. So we chose to not feel it, to stay out of our hearts. This is understandable. It is painful what is happening around us, in this country. It is painful to witness all this violence happening across the country. It is scary. It creates anxiety and fear. It makes it hard to be in our hearts.
Living in our hearts, even in these painful times, can open up new avenues of healing, witnessing, action, perceiving and more. Feeling our way through this time creates in our hearts an inner knowing to help us make a difference and create the change we desire. Our heads can not do that. Only Love can, only our Hearts can.
It takes Intention and a willingness to be Vulnerable to connect to our hearts. Our hearts need to know that we are actually listening, that we truly want to know, and that once we know we will act upon the answers we receive.
So what brings you joy?
Anoukie brings me joy, my dog. She is my teacher, constantly teaching me to take time to nature my heart, to laugh, to play, to be in experience, in the moment. This powerful girl has transformed me and my heart, in ways that I not always aware of.
Weaving, crocheting, knitting, fiber arts bring me joy. I love to lose myself in this spiritual practice. Each time I do, I come out of those moments feeling this deep peace, harmony and balance that I know (heart-knowing) is joy.
Hiking, walking, being outside in nature brings me joy. I feel the support of Mother Earth below me. Breath in the breathe that is the Sacred. Witness beauty all around me. Listen to the heart songs of the winged ones. My heart fills with joy just being in contact with nature.
When I am connected to nature, weaving, or playing with my pup, I am in my heart. Each of those activities drops me to the center of my being, to my heart, where I feel my heart expand with Love and Joy.
What brings you joy?
How are you incorporating that joy into your life?
When we let joy lead us, our lives are full of abundance, love, harmony, peace, and, of course, joy!
What brings you joy?
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Pastor Jocelyn Emerson weaves together her training as a Light and Energy worker, Reiki master, spiritual director, and Pastor with her life experience as a mystic and contemplative to offer a space of trust, safety, and honesty to support you on your life's journey.