Be a hero. You don’t need to be ‘Super’

Published 9:34 am Saturday, June 24, 2017

by Andrew Book

Our country is obsessed with superheroes. We love their stories and we tell them over and over again. I have lost count of how many movies have been made about Wolverine, Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the others, but it is no overstatement to say that Hollywood is already producing the next re-telling of a hero’s story before the first movie is even out of the theaters.

It used to be that superheroes were just for kids, but now many of the movies and TV shows which are created are not just for kids or, in some cases, not for kids at all. The reason is that Hollywood has recognized it is not just kids who love stories about superheroes. We all do. We love to watch and dream about what it would be like to be a person with special powers which allow us to conquer evil, stop the bad guys, and change the world for good. What I think is remarkable is that as much time as we spend dreaming about “what if,” very few people actually take the time to work towards those same goals of being a positive impact on our society and world with the powers we have.

The reality of our world is that each and every person has enough power (even if it isn’t “super power”) to be a hero in meaningful ways. There are people in our communities who need someone to show up in their lives. There are kids who need tutoring, communities that need cleaning, environments that need protecting, people who need food, and on and on. There are innumerable people around us who need a hero today who looks just like you, and yet we find ourselves dreaming, “if I had superpowers then I would really help people.” Honesty, I don’t think even superpowers would change us if we aren’t willing to use our normal powers to make a difference. We can really help people today if we care enough to do it — most of us honesty just do not care enough to figure out how to be a hero for the girls sold as sex slaves (yes, that happens in Virginia!), or the sick who have no one to care for them.

We have all the power we need — we just need to care more to make being a hero a priority.

This week at Courtland United Methodist Church, we are hosting a Vacation Bible School around the idea that we are all God’s heroes. Kids age 3-5th grade are welcome. If you are not signed up, just show up Sunday the 25th at 5:30 p.m. and we will register you. The theme made me a little uncomfortable at first because of the way that the “superheroes” we know and love rely on their special abilities to make a difference. But, as I have prepared for our Bible lessons and assemblies, I have come to appreciate why this theme is so valuable — we need to recognize that we don’t need to have super-human abilities in order to be heroes. We just need to care enough to use the abilities God has given us.

I claimed the first part of the “Hero Code” as my sermon title for our 11 a.m. family worship this morning: “God’s Heroes Have Heart.” At the end of the day, it does not matter how many superpowers someone has, if they do not have a heart of love, they will not be a hero. The opposite is also true — no matter how few we think our powers are, we have enough power to be heroes as we follow the path laid out for us by a loving God.

One of the reasons that I love the stories recorded in the Bible is that most of the time the stories are about normal people who are not “super” in any way. They are people just like you and me who mess up and make mistakes and yet, once these people allow God to take hold of their hearts, they become the heroes who literally changed the world. They did all of it without X-ray vision or web shooters. The next time you watch a superhero movie or read a comic, ask yourself about the heart that drives a hero.

While it is true (as Spiderman often quotes from his uncle Ben) that “with great power comes great responsibility,” it is also true that we all have power which is great enough for us to be a hero. The power God has given you gives you a great responsibility. How will you use it?

ANDREW BOOK is the pastor of Courtland United Methodist Church. He can be contacted at 653-2240 or