Aside for my adolescent affection for David Banner and his mean green alter ego, “The Hulk,” I’ve never been a fan of movies or T.V. shows based on comic books until recently. Had I not married a man who stomps his feet with excitement whenever a trailer promoting the latest flick about an iconic hero with superpowers is shown for the first time, I most likely would have gone the rest of my life without watching such characters.
The first time my husband brought me to a theater to see a movie based on some legend from his childhood was to the premier of X-Men about 12 years ago. As we stood in line behind a man wearing Wolverine claws, I rolled my eyes and thought that I would enjoy the next two hours as much as I enjoyed tweezing my eye-brows.
I was wrong. After spending just 180 minutes alternating holding my breath and crying as the Marvel Heroes fought the bad guys and their inner demons, I was hooked. From then forward, when a movie about a costumed crusader against evil is released, I’m ready to book a babysitter and stand in line. I’m also more likely to get caught up in T.V. shows focusing on people with powers of the super variety.
Although the action scenes are riveting, it’s the classic struggle between good and evil that keeps me glued. It’s viewing seemingly ordinary people grapple with discovering that they are now different from others–different from whom they thought they once were. It’s not about watching characters evolve into people with super powers, it’s about people who are willing to make mountainous sacrifices for humankind.
I cannot leap giant buildings in a single bound. I can’t heal myself or control minds. And I run slightly faster than a speeding turtle. But I identify with the Clark Kent’s, Peter Parker’s, and Claire Bennett’s of the fantasy world. Because like them, I am set a apart. I don’t believe this because I think I am more special or better than anyone else. In fact, it’s not about me at all. It’s about Jesus and letting others know that I follow the Messiah.
As said by Peter Parker’s aunt in the movie Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” All Christians are given the responsibility of living up to the standards of a glorious and all-powerful God.
That’s not small stuff. It is certainly too big for me to accomplish on my own strength. So I fail. A lot. The good news is that I’m not meant to do it alone. Grace mingles with sacrifice. And when I am tired, weary, frustrated, and broken from this world and from simply being me, I can rest in the One whose power is beyond anything in this universe.
Romans 12:1-3 (New Living Translation)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us