Romans superheroes

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					Prayer: May the words of my mouth, the meditations of our
hearts and the actions of our lives be pleasing to you, our Rock
and our Redeemer. Amen.



Around every bend is another epic adventure.

What a fitting description!

It’s the description assigned to Islands of Adventure, Universal Studio’s
amusement park in Orlando, Florida … home of the Wizarding World of
Harry Potter and location of a Blackert family visit two weeks ago.

I want to introduce you to a few of the characters we met on our own epic
adventure. Let’s see how well you know your superheroes.




This slightly withdrawn and reserved physicist, named Dr Bruce Banner,
becomes a giant raging creature after he is accidently exposed to a blast of
gamma ray.

The Incredible Hulk

He was an orphan, raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. As a teenager
he struggled with feelings of rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness – as well
as dealing with his crime fighting powers, which included super strength,
agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces and the gift of shooting web-like
threads.

Spiderman


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He first appeared in 1941 as a rather sickly young man who was enhanced
to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum so that he
might aid the US war effort. He is a fitting hero for this holiday weekend as
his costume bears an American flag motif with a big white star on his
chest, and red and white stripes around his waist. He is making a reprise
this summer!

Captain America

And then there’s the real Canadian hero: James Howlett was born in
Alberta in 1882 to rich farm owners. He grows into manhood in a mining
colony in northern BC. He takes on the name of Logan and leaves the
colony to live for a time in the wilderness among wolves. When he returns
to civilization, he lives amongst the Blackfoot Indian tribe. Like Captain
America, he aids the Canadian cause in the world war by enlisting in the
military.

Wolverine




There seems to be a common thread here. How many of our superheroes
come from a marginalized place? Many of them are orphans – Spiderman,
Batman, Spiderman, even Superman is an orphan from another planet.
Sickly, weak, shy, living with wolves.




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Almost every superhero is really just an everyday, ordinary person who is
transformed in some way into an extraordinary, super man or woman who
fights the injustices of the world, righting wrongs, saving lives, helping
others.

Even my current favorite – Harry Potter – who is also an orphan, living with
his aunt and uncle and awful, insecure, cousin. Until he reaches that
magical age of eleven, he has no idea that he has magical powers within
himself – powers which are developed in the midst of his community at
Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizarding.

It’s what so many of us dream of – to emerge from our everyday, ordinary
lives and become more than we think we are.

It’s what Paul calls us to in this letter to the Romans:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday,
ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life
– and place it before God as an offering … Don’t become so well-adjusted
to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead fix your
attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.

The NRSV says this:

Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed …

Transformed – changed from the inside out.

Changed because your attention – your focus – is on God, who brings the
best out of you – who brings the superhero out in you.

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As we sat having lunch in the Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal
Studios, Captain America rode up on his motorcycle. Young people flocked
around him. He chatted with them, high fived them, and then started up
his motorcycle and rode away with a mighty roar.

And at some point in time, this superhero character went back to a locker
room, took off his costume, and returned to his everyday, ordinary life.

Imagine if we wore capes or costumes, declaring our superhero-hood. Not
too long ago, Ernie was presented with a cape, making him Super Ernie,
man of many gifts, fixer of all things, and all around good guy.

What would you look like as a superhero?

Caped crusader?

Dark knight?

Or would you be wearing an apron?

Maybe you would just appear in your everyday, ordinary clothes – in your
everyday, ordinary life – with your attention fixed on God – all changed
from the inside out as you readily recognize what God wants from you and
you respond quickly to it.

Only God can turn everyday, ordinary you – or everyday, ordinary me –
into a superhero … and then only if we are open to it.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to take a look at several Biblical
heroes – people who were open to God and whose everyday, ordinary lives
accomplished extraordinary things.

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Superman may be "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a
locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound", but only God
is able to raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of God’s hand.

Holy transformation, Batman!

May it be so. Amen!




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