Devotional Thought of the Day:
35 Through faith women received their dead relatives raised back to life. Others, refusing to accept freedom, died under torture in order to be raised to a better life. 36 Some were mocked and whipped, and others were put in chains and taken off to prison. 37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were killed by the sword. They went around clothed in skins of sheep or goats—poor, persecuted, and mistreated. 38 The world was not good enough for them! They wandered like refugees in the deserts and hills, living in caves and holes in the ground. 39 What a record all of these have won by their faith! Yet they did not receive what God had promised, 40 because God had decided on an even better plan for us. His purpose was that only in company with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:35-40 (TEV)
The Bible contains stories of salvation which are completely paradoxical. In the tales and the stories of the world, we learn that the heroes were young, beautiful, strong and that they set off on an adventure. In the Bible, they were old, sterile and powerless and God chose them (e.g., Abraham and his wife Sarah). For us it always starts on the wrong foot! What is important in the Bible is not so much to be healthy or ill, but to be with God. One is healthy and holy when one is with God Who comes to meet us in our weakness. The place of our wound, our vulnerability, is the place where God meets us
There is a picture that people post on the internet that annoys the heck out of me. Well, actually there are a lot of them, but one in particular drives me up a wall.
It is a drawing of Jesus, surrounded by “superheroes”, Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America, those kinds of guys. And it contains the quote, “and that is how I really saved the world.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Marvel and DC ficitonal superheroes. They are a cool escape, and I understand their role in our society, giving people hope, and possibly giving them some moral lessons. But they are simply modern fables, they are nothing more than that.
Jesus on the other hand, and those who follow him, are more than that. Living in fellowship with God the Father and depending on people, they really save people’s souls, and oftne their lives.
They aren’t perfect either, as the quote in purple points out, their brokenness is declared clearly in scripture, which makes their work, done depending on God, all the more phenomenal. They don’t have a weakness – they have all of them.
They even doubt God at times.
But they depend on Him, and they dwell assured of his presence
For He has come to dwell with us, to heal us, to reasue us, to support us. To not just fly in and out, but to really care and help us in our lives, especially the dark and challenging parts.
Not just a symbol, but a God who inspires us all to depend on Him, even as we serve others.
And those who do depend on Him, whether old fogies like Abraham, or the ladies who teach preschoolers to sing, “Jesus loves me”, or the pastors in the inner city, caring for those too often left behind, or the missionaries in the Sudan and Cameroon and Nebraska – they are my real heroes. So are they who have gone through the darkness, those abused, those broken beyond imagination, those incarcerated, and those ill ( one lady who has battled cancer for 7 years – 5 years past the time doctors gave her and is going strong) These who found God waiting for them in their darkness and simply hang on.
They know God loves them, they know He is faithful and they go where He sends.
May the Lord help each of us to realize He has done the same with us!
Buttet, N. (2012). The Eucharist, Adoration and Healing. In A. Reid (Ed.), From Eucharistic Adoration to Evangelization (p. 112). London; New York: Burns & Oates.
Devotional Discussion thought of the day…
As I am sitting home sick, I’ve been catching up on superhero movies – reliving my childhood one would say… except the superheroes are far more technological, their challengers even more vicious, the battles far more …. critical, than the ones Adam West and Boy Robin faced. or Chris Reeves.
What they have in common, these heroes of my youth and the heroes of this day.. they don’t become lords, they don’t govern, they simply serve…they work to bring health to their communities and peace, and indeed to protect them from evil. Whether it is a global threat – or a child needing to be rescued from a tree, they are there.
There is something at a sub-conscious level that resounds and gets excited by the superhero concept, and I believe it is because we believe we are also threatened. Threatened by a darkness that would consume us, enslave us, ruin us. Sometimes that darkness is an external threat ( we often project this on… let’s say – a presidential candidate? That is why we must vilify them, rather than just base it on issues) Sometimes it is an internal threat – the superheroes today often battle internal demons, (Dark Knight/Batman, the Hulk, Ironman etc) and the difference between Villain and Hero is slim, razor slim.
We have heroes in our midst, the apostles and ministers who reflect light into the darkness. I don’t capitalize either of those words for a purpose – I am not talking about pastors and priests, bishops and other clergy. I am talking about the people who are sent by God into the darkness of this world, to reflect the light,t he glory that envelops them, for they have found hope in Jesus. They are more than superheroes – for in Christ, they have become children of the Father, they have been united in Christ’s death and resurrection. As they live normal lives, they become our heroes, as they pray with their kids, as they sing in the choir, as they help their neighbor and their neighbor’s family as they approach death, as they simply listen to that co-worker, whose life is broken, just as their lives were.. It’s the lady who teaches Sunday School, the musicians who arrive early, the people that greet with smiles and hugs. They have been “apostled” sent into the place to serve, to minister, on God’s behalf. Without thought of reward, but to give hope to the hopeless, to bring healing where there is pain, to bring love where there is hatred and apathy…
to bring Jesus, His mercy, His love, His glory….
Who are these superheroes? Come to church on Sunday, and I will introduce you to some… and we’ll help you see that you are one as well….