In Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, the highly entertaining sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill and his friends continue their struggle to find a balance between their role as galactic heroes and their penchant for mischief. That struggle is largely born from the fact that they aren’t exactly hero material. Each has a checkered, often tragic, past that continues to define their future. For Peter, the closest thing he ever knew to a father was the blue space pirate Yondu who was hired to abduct Peter from Earth after his mother died but ended up adopting him into his band of thieves instead. Given that Yondu routinely “joked” about having saved Peter from a crew that wanted to eat him, it wasn’t exactly the healthiest of childhoods and left a gaping hole that he expects only his true father could fill.
That belief is put to the test when Ego appears on a planet where the Guardians have crashed. He proceeds to tell Peter that he is his father, a revelation that comes as quite a shock considering Ego is also a celestial, part of a group of gods that existed for millennia and eventually fashioned much of the known universe. The group soon splits, with Peter, Gamora, and Drax accompanying Ego back to his planet while Nebula, Rocket, and Baby Groot—who is worth the price of admission on his own—remain behind to fix the ship.
The latter group will eventually catch back up with Peter and the others, but the movie’s focus shifts primarily to the interaction between Peter and his father. As their story unfolds, Peter comes to understand that sometimes family is measured less by blood than by love and mutual devotion.
As Christians, we are called to demonstrate that principle within our communities of faith. Scripture is clear that we are each part of the body of Christ, a group of fellow believers that includes both the local church and every Christian for whom Christ died (1 Corinthians 12). Like any family, our relationships within that community will never be perfect. We’ll fight and bicker, disagree on issues from theology to the kind of donuts to serve on Sunday morning, and generally make life more difficult at times for our brothers and sisters in the faith.
The inevitability of those moments, however, does not excuse them, since Scripture is also clear that God’s heart is for us to be unified (John 17:11). The key to that unity is remembering that what we have in common is infinitely more important than what we do not. Our shared bond in Christ is thicker than blood (Luke 14:26) and enables us to persevere through any trials that we may face.
In a world increasingly defined by division, it’s vital that we exemplify the truth that Jesus is enough to unite us. It was his hope that our love for one another and devotion to the common cause of Christ would help to guide the lost back to him (John 17:23). Every day, we have the opportunity to do just that, but it won’t happen if we allow our focus to shift from what draws us together to what drives us apart.
So the next time you find yourself embroiled in a debate with your fellow Christians, no matter how legitimate it might be, remember that disagreement is fine so long as it doesn’t end in division. We’re family, for better or worse, and that means never forgetting that love and devotion to one another should always be the primary lenses through which we see our brothers and sisters in Christ. How’s your family doing today?