Happy Birthday, Superman!

19 Apr


On April 18th, 1938–seventy-five years ago yesterday–a strange visitor from another planet made his debut in the pages of Action Comics #1.  That visitor looked like a man, but he had powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.  He could leap tall buildings in a single bound (he didn’t fly till a little later), he was faster than a speeding bullet, bullets bounced off of his chest, etc.  His name was Superman and he has become an American icon over the last 75 years of his existence.  The Superman “S” is one of the most recognizable symbols in pop culture today.  And, this is who I idolized when I was a kid.

I loved Superman.  I don’t remember the first time I saw him, but whenever it was I was mesmerized.  I loved his costume and his cape.  I remember putting on a red towel when I was a kid and running around the house, pretending I could fly.  I grew up watching Christopher Reeve dawn the blue suit with the red “s” and save the world time and again.  I even watched George Reeves in the classic Superman television show.  Anything that was Superman, I wanted.  Superman was the character that hooked me on comic books, which I still collect today.

On Monday, Boston (my adopted hometown) was rocked by two explosions set off by a madman.  Chaos ensued at the Boston Marathon which is supposed to be a great time celebrating runners and their accomplishments.  As I watched the news, I could not help but think, “I wish Superman were here.  He would find the person responsible and bring him to justice.”  You see, when I was a kid, Superman was a hero.  As I have grown older I have realized what mesmerized me about Superman.  It wasn’t his costume.  It wasn’t his powers.  It was his heart to always do what is right.  He pursued justice.  He wanted to do right by everyone and that was why he was always known as the “Boy Scout.”

We still need heroes today.  None of us are strange visitors from another planet (although some of us might be strange).  But, that does not mean that we cannot be heroes.  Most of us may not find ourselves in situations where we will have to save somebody’s life.  But, most of us are in situations where we can lead them to the One who can save them.  For too long, we have sat idly by and let the institutional church handle all of the spiritual matters.  We take our kids to Sunday School and trust the teachers to teach them about God and following him.  We take them to church and hope they don’t make too much of a scene while the preacher is delivering the message.  Then, throughout the week, we get back to our daily routine.  We don’t give them an example to follow.  We spend time with people outside of the church with no intention of leading them to Christ.  We get so caught up in our routine that we forget that we were saved to be Christ’s ambassadors.

People are losing hope in our country.  People are losing hope in our world.  I remember when Superman died.  He died in Superman #75.  He was killed fighting the monster Doomsday who wanted to destroy anything in his path.  Superman sacrificed himself for everyone else.  When he died, the other heroes did their best to take his place, but it wasn’t the same.  People were losing hope.  But, suddenly, Superman returned.  He returned triumphantly and instilled hope in the people of Metropolis once again.

We read these stories and are amazed by them.  We forget that a story very similar happened in our history and reality.  Superman is a fictional character who rose from the dead; Jesus was a real person who died on a cross and rose from the dead.  People compare Superman to Jesus and call Jesus their superhero.  But, Jesus is greater than Superman.  Jesus is God himself.  Jesus was not defeated by some monster.  He willingly gave up his life for us on the cross and then triumphantly rose from the dead.  This is the message of true hope.  We can hope beyond hope that an alien from Krypton will be rocketed to our world to be our Savior or we can trust in a real Savior who came to give us hope.  He came to give us a new life.

In the wake of tragedy, this is the message we need to be teaching and LIVING!  You see, it’s not enough to talk about it.  Talk is cheap.  We need to live our lives for Christ.  This means, every day and not just on Sundays.  We need to step up and lead people who are looking for answers to a true hero who rose from the dead.  We need to lead them to a strange visitor from another place who became like one of us in order to die for us.

-Ryan Reveley


Ryan Reveley grew up in Arkansas, but now lives in Massachusetts.  He is married to Allie and they have three boys, Caedmon (5), Shepherd (2), and Rex (9 months).  He is the pastor of Matthew Memorial Church in Chelmsford, MA and is also a stay-at-home dad.  He is pursuing his Masters of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Knox Seminary and is an ordained minister through the Primitive Methodist Church.  He is a sports lover with baseball and football being his favorite.  He is a die-hard Braves, Red Sox, and Chicago Bears fan.  He loves reading and spending time with his family. Connect with Ryan on his blog.

photo credit: ★ jox via photopin cc

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