My Favorite Superpower
The other day I was chatting with someone when they told me that their friend had ‘taught Superman to fly.’ Impressive! I wondered what god-like mega-human this must be, who gave the Man of Steel his ability to travel like a ‘speeding bullet’. How could such a being exist?
The parishioner then explained that her friend had, actually, taught the actor Christopher Reeve to fly a light aircraft. Pity. We could use a Superhero.
But it got me wondering. If I could pick a superpower, what would it be? When I was a kid, that was an easy question. Teleporting – the art of being able to move instantly from one place to another. Beam me up Scottie. ‘Imagine’, I used to think, ‘I could get into the cinema free! I could get into the sports stadium to see the big game without a ticket! I could go somewhere warm and sunny when it was cold and wet at home.’ Such was the limit of my childish imagination. Free tickets and sunshine. Only as an adult did I become aware that I could use the same superpower to achieve world domination and limitless wealth. Ah, the innocence of childhood.
Today, if I were to fantasize about owning a superpower, I’m not sure what I’d pick. My better angels would whisper into my ear such worthy projects as global peace, the end of want, the eradication of illness, the kingdom of God. On the other shoulder something else would tempt me with thoughts of pleasure, popularity, and comfort. The tempter would also pop into my head ways I could achieve good outcomes, by taking shortcuts.
One shortcut I’d be tempted take would be to fill the churches with people. They’d all be glad they were there, have no complaints, and be totally happy. And every church would be full – not just St John’s. Yes, I like the idea of that superpower. Please, God, oh please…..
Then I wake up and taste the bitter lemon of truth. God won’t convert the world by giving me superpowers. The way of Christ is harder, longer, and less ‘successful’ than that.
And yet … We have Good News. The BEST News. God loves the world, and has called a Church into being to serve as the main channel for love and liberation. God has not finished with the Church, and will never abandon us. There is no Plan B. We are what God has dreamed up! We are God’s plan A. We’re it! Phew.
I need to remind myself of these truths when statistics and social change get me down. God’s kingdom will on day come in fulness, and until then we have a task to perform and a world to love. Loving the world. Hmm. Sounds like we need a superpower. So, we start small. Loving Montgomery is a great beginning. By the grace and mercy of God, we can do this.