7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
In the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU as it is otherwise known I was never really a Captain America fan. I didn’t dislike the character but I boxed him off into all American boy, patriot, soldier who was no big deal and could just throw a shield at people.
Previously I had been a Spider-Man guy. The wise cracking wall crawler with his quick wit and web swinging abilities was my favourite. ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ was the mantra and the cavalcade of colourful, interesting villains also kept me on the hook even when the films were fairly ordinary fare.
As the MCU grew though something in me began to move towards Steve Rodgers and over time Cap has grown on me. He has got under my skin.
He was different to other heroes. He didn’t have an accident like Peter Parker to gain his powers. He wasn’t a multi billionaire philanthropist with a great eye for design like Tony Stark.
Steve Rogers was chosen. He was picked by the government to be injected with a super soldier serum that gave him his power.
He wasn’t picked because of his size, strength or intelligence.
He was picked because of his heart.
The verse from 1 Samuel is taken from the story of David being selected as king of Israel. Samuel has walked down a line up of Jesse’s sons. The big, the strong, the potential warrior kings that could lead Israel to dominate their neighbours for years.
As Samuel walks the line and each is rejected by God to the point where there are no sons left. The story tells us they have to go and get David he wasn’t even considered worthy enough for the line up!
When David arrives God informs Samuel that this is the chosen one, the future king. The son who was rejected by his own family for the line up is selected.
Why David? The verse tells us it was because of his heart.
Steve Rogers couldn’t get drafted into the army, slipped in through the back door after countless rejections and ended up Captain America.
At one point in the First Avenger a grenade is thrown into a crowd of soldiers and Steve flings himself on top to protect those around him. While others run he puts other lives ahead of his own.
At this point the officers around him see the potential for a true hero. In this moment Rogers is chosen. Not because of physical prowess, intelligence or size but because of his character.
He is chosen because of his heart and consequentially becomes the moral compass of the MCU.
In the Winter Soldier when actions are taken in the name of security and patriotism Cap stands against it because it invokes not protection but in his mind fear.
Captain America is not driven by a super serum but rather principle, ethics and the desire to do what is right.
In today’s world perhaps we need to re examine not what makes up popular, powerful or gains us status among peers. Perhaps we should instead check our hearts to see what condition it is in.