This is the era of the Superhero movie. It seems like every time you turn around, there is another one being released. They are great and everyone loves to go see them, and evidently the movie studios have found a way to keep selling more tickets forever without ever having to come up with any new ideas. But that is okay - we will keep going because it is the rare kind of movie that both men and women can enjoy together. In our own family, it has often been difficult to find an in-between on movie preferences. Generally speaking (looking at you, Kory!), the guys love war and action movies that all seem to have the most gruesome sound effects possible, and the ladies love musicals and love stories. But all of us love to watch someone sweep in and save the day. It is so gratifying when the seemingly-unstoppable Bad Guy finally gets decimated in one moment by the Good Guy.
This idea resonates so deeply within each of us. The world around us seems very much like the situations painted in these superhero movies - the whole earth and all of the people in it seem so bleak, helpless, and tormented. A great evil person, sometimes from around here but sometimes from another galaxy altogether, has seized all power and is taking everything for himself. In his eyes, the more people that get crushed under the evil regime, the better. The more suffering this Bad Guy can cause, the better. He hates goodness and fairness and wholesomeness so much that he is bent on destroying everything and everyone. All that matters is that he gets the power. Every superhero movie paints the same picture and struggles with the same dilemma - who can save us from this evil? Isn’t there anyone at all who can take down this bad guy?
The glorious answer is yes! There is someone who can save us, and our hearts leap with joy and victory every single time it happens on the big screen. On a very deep level, our spirits know that this is real - there is One who is greater than all of the evil powers that seek to destroy and devour. His name is Jesus, King of all Kings, and He has already conquered death and evil forever through HIs great work on the cross. The era that we live in is the long wait until the King returns and claims His rightful place.
The long wait is hard for us. The victory has already been won, but the enemy is not going to go away without causing as much damage as possible in the time he has left. Add to that the problem that we can easily forget who we are and what is really going on. It is so hard to remember that lIfe is not just about accumulaating things, or driving here and there, sitting in traffic, cleaning up after a sick dog, dealing with a broken washing machine, paying bills, and all of the other inglorious things we all have to do every day. Where do we fit into the superhero story?
Jesus told us that when we follow Him, we can change the world. He told us that during this long waiting time, He wants everyone on earth to be impacted by His great salvation, and that He has chosen us to be the carriers of the Good News. He said that we, too, have a superpower. It is the greatest power in creation, which no enemy of God can understand it or believe is real. When you wield this power, no enemy can stand in your way. What is it? It is love, and it changes everything it touches.
When you carefully study the scriptures, you will find that Jesus said things like this all the time:
-A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
-Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. -Mark 12: 30-31
-So in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. -Matthew 7:12
He spent HIs ministry telling everyone that all of life is simply about loving God and also loving others. We make things much too complicated and get too wapped up in the things that matter very little, when all the while our lives could be about the business of changing the world with the love of God.
We must not remain trapped in the feeling that everything is terrible and we are powerless to do anything about it. We must not remain trapped in the feeling that if we read about a good idea and agree with it, that we have actually done something helpful. Agreeing and shouting out suggestions from our seats is not helping anything.
Changing the world takes some hard work and sacrifice of comfort.
Simply stated, love finds a need and meets it.
This can be as simple as cleaning up the trash on the street instead of just walking by, so that everyone else can have a pleasant view, or just smiling at the person walking past just to remind them that God loves them. It could be something practical like mowing your widowed neighbor’s yard when you do your own, or taking meals to people who are going through a major life event. Look around - what needs to be done to help someone? We don’t need to wait to be asked, or to receive compensation or accolades - we serve God and others in love, and this is our superpower. Are you saddened by the number of forgotten kids in the foster system? Sign up to open your home or to help in some way. Does it trouble you that so many kids fall into drug abuse? Volunteer your time with your church or community youth program and deeply invest into kids’ lives. Are you alarmed about the number of people who suffer through a difficult divorce? Get to know your neighbors and help each other work through hard times.
The list of things that need to be done to bring hope and healing into the world is endless. If you are not sure where to begin, ask yourself this question - what could someone else do for you that would bring the greatest hope or relief? Would it be help in paying a bill, or fixing that broken thing on your house, or looking after your kids for one afternoon so you can have a little break? Whatever you wish someone would do for you, go do that very thing for someone else. That is real power and it will affect real change.
The Good News is that Jesus has conquered evil and death - we do not have to wonder or worry about that. He is the real superhero and has already done the hard part. All we have to do is look around in love, find a need, and meet it.
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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