What an awesome time celebrating “In All Things” August 9th through the 13th in Houston. Yes, we saw Jesus at work all around us. Through Mass Events at Minute Maid Stadium (the only youth gathering to be held at a baseball park) including a band, skits, worship and just plain Christ-centered fun. Jesus was right there. We attended cool (pun intended because they were in the George Brown Convention Center and it was literally cool and huge) learning sessions that shared Jesus in many youth connected ways. Our church body, the LCMS, did a great job in facilitating this event where Jesus was “In All Things!”
One of the gathering sessions that really intrigued me was called “In All Things Marvel.” Yes, it does mean to “marvel” at our awesome, risen servant-Lord Jesus! But when they shared with me that it had to do with another universe than the one I know, I wasn’t sure I would stay awake! This session was led by Pastor Lee Hopf, a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) geek who proceeded to present how the story of Jesus, the greatest ever, is woven throughout the 23 Superhero movies that make up this cinematic universe. While I didn’t know many of these superheroes , I thoroughly enjoyed his rapid fire talk (he had a lot to cover and was truly excited about it) and plan to watch the original Avengers and some of the others during my staycation this August.
On my return, I couldn’t help but recall my childhood superheroes. The characters with stories larger than life were not from Marvel but DC comics. If you are a Baby Boomer or even a Buster or a few generations down, you know these superheroes: Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Aquaman to name a few. But my favorite was Superman!!
The day after I returned I was looking in a file and came upon an article from AARP Magazine (yah, I’m an old guy with a young heart). It was called “Five Things You Never Knew About Superman.” Here they are… He had a SS#! Are you ready?: 092-09-6616. It actually belonged to a flesh-and-blood New Yorker whose family never knew why it was picked. I’m glad there was a 1 between those three 6’s; the anitichrist he’s not! He not only fought fictional characters like Lex Luthor. He fought real villains through the course of the comics. He battled white-hooded KKKlansmen and hauled Hitler and Stalin before a war crimes tribunal. He failed his Army physical during WWII. Because of his x-ray vision he read an eye chart in an adjoining room. Superman has a middle name revealed in the comics in 1997 – Joseph. And finally, and most along the lines of Jesus in all things, Superman’s Kryptonian name: Kal-El which is Hebrew for “Vessel of God.” Superman’s beginning is almost straight out of Exodus as his parents launch him to safety in a spacecraft instead of a reed basket. To read Superman comics is to find victory, good over evil, almost gift-like as x-ray eyes locate those in need.
Yes, Jesus is in all things, even the stories of these superheroes. But above all, Jesus story includes us. The theme Word for the Gathering: 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-17, 20-21)
There’s the superhero beyond compare! THE universe that causes us to marvel is His creation. He not only made it, He holds it together in His love and mercy. He became the SUPER man as through Him God and human flesh became one so that He could fight the greatest enemy ever, the devil (the one who truly bears the mark of 666). Through His blood on the cross, we are reconciled with God our heavenly Father, and with the gift of faith Jesus’ super promises become fulfilled and active in our lives. Thank God Jesus’ peace is ours and we have a super job to do: sharing the Story of Jesus who is “In All Things!” We are able to do all things in Him, who strengthens us! (Phil. 4:13)
So keep your eyes open. Not x-ray eyes but even stronger eyes of faith to see Jesus “In All Things,” especially your ongoing story! Let Him use you in “super” ways to connect others to Him! Pastor Craig