We are Groot
What do a tree, the Marvel cinematic universe, and the Easter story all have in common? The answer is simple, and his name is Groot.
Groot first shows up in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, and is described as an “extraterrestrial tree-like being.” As he walks around on two stump-like legs, he controls his root and vine like arms extending them and retracting them as he wishes. And, despite being able to understand what others say, the only three words that come out of his mouth are “I am Groot.”
Groot isn’t really a main character. His role is to support his friends, and offer comic relief in the films. But, in all of the 21 of the Marvel films, Groot is the only character to make me weep.
At the end of the Guardians film (spoiler alert), Groot willingly sacrifices himself for the sake of his other friends. Groot stretches out his branches wide to embrace his friends. And when one of his fellow heroes cries out “No Groot, you will die!” Groot calmly and assuredly responds “We are Groot.”
We are Groot.
In a few short weeks we are going to hear another story of a man, who willingly stretched his arms wide, for the sake of all his friends – for your sake and mine. It is that one act on a cross in which Jesus unites all of humanity. This one moment in time is where God showed all of us that there isn’t anywhere God wouldn’t go for you and for me in order to show us love, mercy, and grace.
Christ’s death makes us one, but it is because of the resurrection that Christ lives in all of us. We are Christ…for the sake of one another and for the sake of the world.
It is this “we” that is so important. The “we” reminds us that Christians are part of something greater than themselves. When Groot makes that switch in the movie from “I” to “We” it is to remind his friends that in order to save the world they are going to need to stick together and be there for each other. Christians can’t exist outside of community. We are the body of Christ, building one another up so that we can build up our communities and the world.
So when we are tempted to let things divide us or when we get bogged down with the stress of daily life, may we remember what is means to be in Christian community and find assurance in three simple words, we are Groot.
(P.S. Spoiler alert…In case you were wondering, Groot, like Jesus, rises again.)