From the Rectory – October

Did you have any childhood heroes? Not necessarily the kind that wears a mask or a cape or swings from a spiders web or leaps from tall building to tall building in a single bound. Maybe the more normal down to earth kind. Someone who you admire because of some character trait or other. Someone you look up to It might be a teacher you had who made a genuine difference to your world view. It might be a family friend who was always there. It could be someone more famous. an activist or religious figure. It could even be a politician!

Its quite easy to romanticise our heroes. Possible character flaws become endearing foibles. Unpleasant incidents get glossed over or rewritten or ignored completely. Our heroes cease being human and become more mythical. All they need is a trip to the Superhero Superstore to pick up their mask and cape, and they can join the pantheon of other great, Superman, Batman, Mrs Smith – Year 3 teacher at Rhodes Avenue Primary School.

The reality is that behind every superhero is a flawed being. Mild mannered mis-fit Clark Kent is Superman. The multi-millionaire out to avenge his parents death Bruce Wayne is Batman. Mrs Smith year 3 teacher at Rhodes Avenue Primary School had a husband she probably shouted at, children who undoubtedly got on her nerve, and a habit of occasionally leaving the dinner in the oven too long. Even superheroes must sometimes burn the lasagne.

Which just makes the character of Jesus even more remarkable. Being God he is without error. Being human most inter the opposite, doesn’t it? That much loved carol Away in a Manger gets it all wrong with the line ‘the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes’. ‘The infant Jesus undoubtedly cried, undoubtedly burped, probably threw up the odd bit of milk every now and then, and will without question have filled his first century nappy. These things don’t lessen his being God, but they do make him fully human. As we read the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, here is !flan who lived a perfect life. His choices were godly choices. He shows the way for us to live in the way that he lived. This man is the only man who can live up to the term ‘superhero’.

No mask or cape required

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