Scripture James 2:14-18
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 18 But some-one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
Message ”What We Are Doing!” Rev. James R. Renfrew
There were a lot of superheroes when I was growing up, Superman and Batman were on the television, and I was always ready to spend my weekly allowance on comic books that had even more superheroes, Spiderman, Green Lantern, or the Fantastic Four. Each one had a unique superpower, many of them had multiple superpowers, able to fly, super strength, able to see through walls, able to create powerful weapons out of thin air. They were almost all attired in colorful costumes, with capes and tights. Many of them wore masks to protect their secret identities.
These superheroes were entertaining enough for me to put my fifteen cents on the drug store counter week after week. When I went off to college, my mom saw her chance and threw out all of the hundreds of accumulated comic books piled up in my closet. They were probably worth of lot of money, but my mom considered them nothing but clutter.
So let’s talk about some superhero stories that will never clutter your closet, Bible superheroes. In months to come Mrs. Tyler and our Sunday School volunteers will be teaching lots of stories about Bible Superheroes. None of them are dressed in colorful capes and tights. In fact, the stories in the Bible are so old that we don’t really know what those people looked like. But they probably looked a lot like other people who lived around them.
Bible Superheroes are best known to us not because of what they look like, but because of what they do. It comes right out of James’ Letter, that faith is wonderful, but what really matters is what we do. We learn about what Bible Superheroes do by telling their stories. Here are a few that I am thinking about.
- There’s a boy named Joseph. His super power was dreaming. His brothers hated it that Joseph dreamed instead of working on chores with them, but, in the end, it was Joseph who saved all of his brothers and many others because he acted on a dream to protect the world from starvation.
- There’s a boy named Moses. His superpower was compassion. He grew up privileged and protected in the palace of the King of Egypt, but one day he went for a walk and saw a man beating up a poor slave. Moses knew that was wrong, and from that moment God chose Moses to take action to lead all of the slaves to freedom through a deep sea and across a wide desert.
- There’s a girl named Mary. Her superpower was knowing how to trust. She was going to have a baby, and she was very frightened, but in a dream God spoke to her about how her baby Jesus would grow up and save his people. Mary trusted God.
Those are just three of the stories Mrs. Tyler has found in our Bible. There are many, many more. Our Bible is full of stories about people who didn’t look like superheroes at all, but when they were needed, God equipped them with a superpower, then they took action. They did not fly through the sky or use superstrength, but God’s work was done through them. Oops, I forgot about one Bible Superhero who did have incredible strength. His name was Samson, but I will leave it to Mrs. Tyler to tell Samson’s story
There are even more superhero stories to tell, stories that are inspired by these Bible Superheroes. Let me tell you about a few of them that I have discovered right here in our church:
- Every week we have a meeting in the church on Wednesday nights. Men and women come to learn a new superpower, the strength to say no to addiction and yes to life. Right here in our own building, every Wednesday night! It goes all the way back to the church member who found this incredible superpower to say yes to life and shared it with others.
- Every week we have a team of superheroes who pack food for children to take home from school. Not all families in our town have enough food, so thank God for those with the superpower of love and care for others.
- Speaking of school, now I’m thinking about some of our most important superheroes, teachers. Their superpower is know-ledge and communication.
- Finally, my list must include Fire Department volunteers and emergency medical technicians. Their superpower is readiness to help, when the fire alarm sounds, when a 911 call is received, when buildings toppled in New York 20 years ago, these superheroes respond. They will drop everything to help.
Now, let me close with this question for everyone here. What superpowers do you have? We can start with the superpowers that I named, dreaming, compassion, trust, saying ‘yes’ to life, love, care, and readiness to help, but of course there are many others. Which ones has God shared with you? This is what I love most about the people of our church, all blessed with superpowers and eager to use those powers to bless many others. It’s our VISION and it’s our ACTION PLAN. It comes down to what we are doing! A vital congregation is known by what it does.