God knows, we need a hero. And so, they come from Hollywood. Their arrival is heralded in worldwide media campaigns. They show up in flashy capes. These imaginary saviors fulfill our dreams. They fight evil and save the day. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is here and it’s great. Spider-Man teaches that: With great power comes great responsibility and that, while being Spidey may appear cool, it’s really a sacrifice.
God knows, we need a hero. And so, One came not from Hollywood, but from heaven. This Hero’s arrival wasn’t announced on billboards. He was born in a barn. This Hero didn’t come with a flashy cape – but with a thorny crown. Our Savior didn’t come to fulfill our dreams – to be who we wanted him to be – but to bring us into God’s dream; so that we could be who God wants us to become.
Yes, this Hero – our Hero, the God-Man Jesus – fought evil, but not with avenging power. He triumphed over evil through suffering love. Jesus teaches: Love enemies, welcome strangers, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick. Turn the other cheek. Forgive seventy times seven. Love everyone as he loves us all. Unlike Spider-Man, who we’re to passively watch in a movie, we’re to actively follow Jesus in life. Which brings us to you.
God knows, we need a hero. Jesus is here, but he’s sent us many, other heroes as well. Everyone who follows Christ – who incarnates his loving way – who is a disciple is one who dares to go where Jesus goes and to do what Jesus does – not as a self-proclaimed hero, but as a Spirit-sent disciple – which is what you are and who you are.
By grace through faith in Christ, God is saving you. Not to save you from this world after you die, but to send you into the world now as you live.
In the Spider-Verse there are many Spider-Men. In the multi-verse in the movie, there’s a Spider-Man/Woman/Person for every universe. All of them alike – but all of them different. All of them called to sacrifice to fight evil, but all of them different: Different races, genders, ages. Yet all of them working as one.
Isn’t that a perfect description of us as the Church? We’re the Body of Christ. We’re the hands and feet, heart and love of Christ. All of us the same – but all of us different. All of us called to sacrifice to incarnate love – to take up our cross and follow Christ – to be a blessing, but to do that in different ways as different people. Different races, genders, ages. Yet all of us working together in Christ as one.
If you think love is weak, think again. Love is the greatest superpower of all. Way better than swinging on a web or punching a villain. Humanly, we love power. But God-Power is Love. God-Love saved the world on the cross. God-Love raised Jesus from the dead. God-Love is saving you today. And God-Love will prevail so that this world – it and us – all becomes a new creation. God-Love is the greatest power there is. And when we share ourselves in love that Power flows through us, transforming our relationships, lives, and world from how things are now to what they will be when God’s Love – God’s Kingdom – God’s Will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
You who belong to Christ have God-Presence with you as the Holy Spirit – and God-Power within you as Love.
God knows, we need a hero. Thank God, we have a Savior. And, by grace, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, we also have you. In John’s gospel, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world (8:12),” but in Matthew’s gospel Jesus says, “You are the light of the world (5:14). You are because he is. Because you belong to him, his light shines through you. You! Most likely, you don’t wear a cape, but you who have clothed yourself with Christ are fully equipped to shine; to bear the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
You have all the power you need to shine; to share yourself in love. You don’t have to save the world. That position is already filled and that job is already done. All you have to do is to be is you, open to God and neighbor in living love. As you do that, God will take care of the rest. No need to go to the movies to see power in action. True Power flows through you as you act with Christ in love. So, let’s cut to the chase: Hit your mark. Say your lines. Fulfill your calling. You are part of the greatest story of all; the greatest glory; and the deepest joy.
By grace, you’re ready.
So: lights! Camera! Action!