At a funeral service I presided at last Saturday, an articulate, good looking, well built, young man in his thirties with tattoos up and down his arms stood up in the congregation and expressively communicated some memories of his relationship with the deceased. What he said next though is something I have never heard come out of anyone’s mouth. He claimed to be a follower of the mythical Norse God Thor popularized by comic books and recent movies. I was stunned. But later on it got me thinking, “What is it about superheroes that makes them so wildly popular in our culture, popular enough to inspire hero worship? I believe the trend towards a fascination with superheroes is a way of addressing our deep need of a supernatural savior.
There is no question that this generation is enamored with the concept of a superhero that is able to defy gravity and other human constraints. Many wish that they were actually themselves the one who has superhero powers acting with completely benevolent motives. There are people who dream of and even dress up like and attend conventions paying homage to their favorite superhero. Wishing there were indeed someone who could fly, penetrate walls and hold up falling towers. Someone who could zoom around the world preventing disasters and crimes at once—someone who was, in essence omnipresent and could keep us safe from evil’s grasp.
The adulation this generation has for comic book superheroes truly displays a craving for justice, healing, protection, righteousness and salvation. We who have been blessed with God’s Spirit of understanding are most fortunate to be able to seek His future promises in the pages of Bible and not in a comic book or on a theater screen. For we know, indeed, God is who we seek and He is the only One who can satisfy this hole we have in our soul.
Jesus could heal the crippled, cleanse those with leprosy as well as walk on water and calm a tempest in the sea with just the command of His voice. God gave Christ the ability to read the thoughts of others, command the demons to obey Him and expand five loaves of bread and two fish to feed over 5,000 with leftovers to boot.
After the funeral service I looked for the Thor follower but he was nowhere to be found. One thing I know for sure; during my message to those gathered in the chapel of a funeral home, all there heard me share the good news about my superhero. He is the One who lived a perfect life and defeated death. They heard me speak about His superhuman ability to do what no one has ever done before; been resurrected from dead with the promise that those who follow Him will also be raised up to meet him in the clouds when He comes again.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
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