Attack on Titan, Episode 33: The Danger of Community

Attack on Titan has been moving at a breakneck pace this season – it’s been quite a thrill ride. And it’s been much better than I thought it was going to be (though perhaps, as I mentioned on Tumblr, this is because I’ve kind of forgot how the story unfolded in the manga).

 

This week, though, the pace slowed down a bit as injured characters healed, Bertholdt and Reiner got a big head start on the Survey Corps, and Erwin and company caught up to provide support. Most of the focus this week was on reestablishing core relationships at the heart of the series – the ones among the Shingashina trio, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. Flashbacks take center stage as Mikasa recovers, and she and Armin worry about their captured friend together.

Of course, she decides to go after Eren, even if she’s less than confident in her ability to get him back. Armin will go, too; he’s also stood by his friend’s side as Eren has stood by his. But further, a whole host of soldiers is going to try to retrieve Eren, and while they are doing so under Erwin’s command, the soldiers formerly of the 104th training corps demonstrate that they will go regardless, because they care for Eren (and Ymir…and in a what the heck is happening? kind of way, Reiner). The 140th is family.

The upcoming struggle will surely be difficult. It will be dirty and nasty and bloody and dangerous, but even so, Connie and Sasha and Historia and Jean will go. They will go even though they know it could cost them everything. In the world of Attack on Titan, in fact, at some point it’s expected that you’ll die.

Relationships in real life are much the same. While there are no titans knocking down our walls, there are “peacetime” sacrifices to be made. Getting involved with a person on an intimate level is dirty and uncomfortable and dangerous. When I decide to invest in someone, to really close to become close to him, I know that means I’ll start seeing the real him, and that doing so is going to disappoint me and maybe even cause me hurt. In fact, the closer I get, the more likely I am to get hurt.

mikasa injured hurt
Mikasa has hurt a lot-emotionally and physically-because of Eren

But family means deciding to do it anyway, knowing that there will be substantial sacrifice. It’s the choice I know I should be making, but one I also believe the church should. We are called to love one another, and love isn’t shaking hands on Sundays or showing up for bible studies; it’s so much more. It’s doing the ugly work of grace, where we pour out our time, energy, heart, money for those that aren’t worthy, that might never give anything back in return. It seems unreasonable-in fact, it is.

But ultimately, the church should be like the 104th. We don’t weigh the cost and make a decision based on what’s best for us, not if we’re doing it right. If we’re family, not just in lip service but in heart, we’ll be like Mikasa, Armin, Jean, and all the rest, that when one of us is hurting, we don’t count the cost; we zip right into the fight.

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