Friday, July 16, 2021

You Gave Me A Family

By Guest Writer C.L.Shoemaker 

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:5)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (1John 3:1)

When was the last time someone believed in you? If it’s been a while you may need to find yourself a Director Coulson and ask to be adopted. In Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Phil Coulson is tasked with forming an elite team for his bus (a flying, response unit). Instead of commandeering the Avengers or SHIELD’s top agents, Phil reaches out to individuals who have been overlooked. He hires Agent May, a closed off agent with PTSD, gives two fresh faced scientists a lab on his plane and invites a known hacker into the group. Where other agents see problems and liabilities, Coulson sees potential and value. For Phil, his carefully crafted SHIELD team is not just another group it’s his opportunity to cultivate a family.

His first questionable choice is to recruit Skye (later called Daisy), a hacker with no last name and no family. Having bounced from foster home to foster home, Skye desperately wants to belong and to be valued. When Phil catches her hacking into SHIELD’s mainframe from a beat-up van in a sketchy alleyway, he offers her a job.

During Skye’s intake interview, Ward, a high-level specialist, struggles to see her purpose declaring her an annoyance and a liability, while Phil giddily sees her as an asset.

Phil Coulson : She's an asset.

Grant Ward : She is such an ass-- wait, "asset"?

Ward doesn’t understand the innate value of a life and a person’s vast potential if they are supported. Ward prizes utilitarian skills; what can you do and how well. For him, individual worth is directly correlated to one’s physical or intellectual output. In contrast, Phil sees value in everyone regardless of their skillset, or lack thereof.

Grant Ward :  You're gonna risk thousands of lives over some nobody.

Phil Coulson : [Cheerily]  Nobody's nobody Ward.

While Ward see Skye’s faults, Coulson recognizes her potential. Phil’s superpower is his ability to see worth in everyone. As Skye later tells him, “You value me. You’re the first person to do that in a long time.” Phil’s talent is to see value in the valueless.

Phil consistently comes to the rescue of those alone, abandoned and without hope. The agent, and former Director, is known for his compassion and for giving second chances. As Agent May observes, “Coulson has more heart than most”. He values people and wants to bring them into community via SHIELD. In fact, Coulson takes a page form Jesus Christ, following in the messiah’s footsteps. Christ excelled at seeking out those who were lost, abandoned or overlooked. He offered second chances and invited them into a family. Through Christ’s death all of humanity can be welcomed back into the family of God. We are accepted and adopted as brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a diverse and unique family filled with misfits, failures and lost souls who have all been rescued, redeemed and restored through the precious blood of Christ.

With Coulson, Skye finds her forever family. She is adopted into SHIELD and welcomed regardless of her past. When Skye is seriously injured in season one and the doctors advise Coulson to contact her family, he responds with, “we are her family.” When, in season four, she runs away and goes rogue, the team searches for her with Coulson never giving up hope. Despite challenges, loss, and life-threatening experiences, the team is always there for Skye. In season seven when she finally meets her birth sister, her response is immediate: “I already have a sister. Her name is Jemma Simmons”. Skye’s answer confirms her love for her SHIELD family. The team she fought with, grew with, loved and lost with; they are her family. Skye refers to Phil as a father figure and a Christ-like figure, reminding him “You found me alone in an alley, and you gave me everything. A home, a belief, solid ground to stand on. That was all you! You are what I believe in.” (season 5 ep 12 “The Real Deal).

While you may not be invited to join Coulson’s team and become an agent of SHIELD, you are welcome to become a child of God. Christ offers a free invitation to join his family, to know your worth and value, and be part of the greatest mission on earth: the salvation of the world. The best part is you don’t need level 7 access, because membership in God’s family is open to everyone.

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