In Fire Emblem, you have a litany of people who are united in their fight against evil and darkness. Each “part” must each use their unique skills and talents to overcome the enemy and support one another with encouragement and service. You end up becoming a large amorphous blob of goodness that cooperates in perfect unity to overcome the enemy.
I love when Paul says, “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.” (1 Cor 12:12). This always got me thinking about Fire Emblem and the way the unfolding tactics of the game require this explicit interdependence on the battlefield.
The dancers dance, the healers heal, the archers intercede, and the defenders make a blockade — each piece of the body does its’ part in Fire Emblem.
One of my favorite things about God’s power is how it comes through human weakness and humility. In this similar way, God invites us to use the strongest among us as servants to our weakest, thus strengthening us as a church whole. And so it is in Fire Emblem.
Donnel is a tiny and extremely weak farm boy who would surely die if he stood alone against the oppressors who would raze his farmlands. But when you form a body around him, letting your strongest members stand like a shield, and empower Donnel to only strike when the enemies are weakened, it’s amazing to see how far this “weak farm boy” can go. By the time I got to the end of the game, Donnel was literally a one-man army, not because he needed to be, but because he was so valued and empowered by the “church” who lifted him up and gave him a chance to flourish.
Donnel is just one example of weak characters who only becomes strong by others covering for his/her lack. It’s this Acts 2:41 style of the covering each other’s need that permeates each subsequent layer of the game.
It’s fitting, then that I only got to play Fire Emblem: Awakening because of church. That is, I had no money and just became a first-time father, and I was gifted a 3DS and a copy of Awakening thanks to two brothers from church. Funny thing is, they’re not even a part of my church. They’re new Jesus-followers from a church that ours is super close with. I’m super grateful for them, and the way they used their strengths to cover my shortcomings. Speaking of others in the church covering my lack on the subject of Fire Emblem, this piece here isn’t the only article about how Fire Emblem relates to God, that honor is thanks to Micah Marshall’s guest-post about Gospel symbolism in Fire Emblem: Fates on Gaming and God.
Nobody has to go far to find church-breakdown, betrayal, and anti-Kingdom behavior. So it’s imperative that we instead re-imagine the the beauty of the church by looking at great examples of the body in action. You find that in every last one of the Fire Emblem games, and you find it in pockets of communities like our own Facebook group, Theology Gaming University (at times).
If you have a beautiful story of the Body working like Fire Emblem’s perfect unity, we’d love to hear it.