“Faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive”, with these words Superman arrived. It was in the 1930’s. Heroically the caped crusader battled evil and fought for ‘truth, justice and the American Way.’
Superman has manouvred the generations with timely tweaks to keep him topical. With the 2013 movie Man of Steel, the legend advanced again. The movie Superman was meant to launch a new era.
The Superman character is the brainchild of Jewish teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Sons of immigrants to the USA, they linked Superman to the biblical hero Moses, who emerged from the temple of Pharaoh to find his place among his own people.
A stranger in a strange land, Superman like Moses, was a baby refugee who grew to be the peoples’ champion. He came from the planet Krypton where his name was Kal El, Hebrew for ‘Voice of God.’
When not being the caped superhero, he was mild-mannered Clark Kent, the identity that camouflaged his true identity.
Man of Steel
In the movie Man of Steel, Russell Crowe plays Jor El, the biological father of Superman. Appropriately, Joe El means ‘father.’
The dual identity caught my imagination. In the Superman story Clark Kent was the cover-up. He presented as a mild mannered, even fearful, timid guy, a stark contrast to the truth.
We actually live in the opposite scenario. On the outside we so easily display cover-ups that conceal who we are in Christ. Often we don’t even realize we have developed a reaction to incidents or hurts from the past. In fact those things may be the very kryptonite that seeks to bring us to our knees.
Emotions might be affected by incidents in a broken or violent home. Techniques of self preservation will emerge from circumstances of poverty, health, academic success, failure or sibling rivalry. And this is in no way, a complete list. Events cause compromise and we are then tossed around like a ship without an anchor.
I worked with a teenager in juvenile prison. He was labeled a delinquent. But as we unraveled his story, we learned he had arrived home one day to find his father in bed with his mother’s best friend. The boy went berserk. He damaged public property with a baseball bat, and was arrested and locked up. He became a repeat offender and was labeled an habitual criminal. His reaction was clearly linked to that traumatic experience. I still question how the world can accept adultery but imprison a boy for his reaction to the failure of his father.
Even now you may be thinking about your dad and those moments in your life that left a deep scar. Do the aftershocks impact your life, even now? Good news is a new way is offered. As believers, our anchor is Jesus Christ.
Jesus invites us to ‘buy’ from Him ‘gold refined by fire.’ He told us to ‘become rich’ wearing ‘white garments.’ (Rev 3:16) This is all about finding our identity in Him. Accept Him totally and refuse the deception that seeks to bring you down. Rich means we will have wealth unlimited. Wearing white garments speaks of the righteousness and purity we find in Him.
Up, up and Away!
C. S. Lewis wrote: “you are a bundle of self-centred fears, hopes, greeds, jealousies, and self-conceit, all doomed to death.” He suggests we should all ‘dress up as Christ’, a kind of ‘let’s pretend’, until it becomes part of us. (Mere Christianity page 158-159, C. S. Lewis, William Collins and Sons, Glasgow)
“Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you already had it. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown ups – playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits, so that the pretence of being grown up helps them grow up in earnest,: wrote Lewis. (Mere Christianity, page 158)
The Superman theme illustrates, the hidden power we have as Christians. We often choose to live in a frame that conceals our true kingdom identity. We need guidance to remove the disguises we use.
When the lame man was healed, he walked ! The Bible says he went ‘walking and leaping and praising God.’ (Acts 3: 8) I picture a new breed of believers declaring “Up, up and away!’ as the