Have you seen it yet?
Disney’s Avengers: Endgame is a movie filled with heroes of amazing powers that fight (even to death) to save the universe from the evil demigod Thanos. And with this movie, the franchise now appears to be slated to become the highest-grossing film of all times! I personally can’t wait to see it!
What do you think this says about the world today?
I believe it speaks to our need for heroes in our daily lives: people who stand up for what is right over wrong. Heroes who fight for the underdog and not only preach what they believe but, when push comes to shove, they act valiantly on those beliefs. Ones who find within themselves the strength to do what is right when the world’s reality points to a different “truth”.
This past weekend was glorious because we had eleven youth take another step in their spiritual journey by either being baptized or confirmed into our Anglican faith. These services are a time when the candidates are initiated into the Church, adopted as God’s own and receive the Holy Spirit, thereby becoming the anointed ones of Christ!
Performing baptisms and confirmations during the Eastertide is apropos because each emphasizes the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus did for his disciples after His resurrection. In baptism, the infant, or believer, is initiated into the church and sealed as Christ’s own. J.I. Packer explains it this way: it is a sacrament that “imparts a sense of the divine that draws mind and heart Godward”. In the Confirmation service the bishop lays hands and prays over each candidate that the Holy Spirit will increased daily, more and more within them, until they come into the fullness of His everlasting kingdom.
The blessing of the promised and given Holy Spirit at Pentecost launches the final phase of God’s plan of salvation. It is the time when God starts a new reality—when the Lord’s personal power comes to live within each candidate, bringing new richness to His covenantal promise; “I will be your God; you shall be my people.”
These sacraments are reminiscent and, more importantly, emblematic of the apostles’ receiving the Holy Spirit in the upper room at Pentecost. A gift when received, regenerates and empowers them, and us alike, to fulfill Jesus’ command of the Great Commission: “go…and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:18-20).
Once the Holy Spirit is imparted the person becomes part of God’s royal family, to grow in Word and Truth and to be fruitful!
Luckily, we don’t go out as we were; these sacraments open us up to a new reality of life in Christ. We are reborn into a living hope; a new life empowered and strengthened by God the Almighty Himself!
So you might ask, how does all this relate to our world’s great desire for super heroes?
Well, that is what God’s family is to be! We, through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, are the ones who care for one another, being each other’s keepers, fighting the good fight as we invest in the lost, frightened, lonely and needy. As we’ve seen in Luke’s gospel, Jesus has many “super powers.” He has authority over prophesies, healings, nature and even death.
And if we take that a step further, we see Him tell His followers in John 14, that it is better for Him to leave…to go to the Father… because then the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon them. Jesus also teaches “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these”.
There is great power in the name of Jesus!
Power to mend the bleeding heart, the tortured mind and the life-less soul, we just need to willing to step up to the plate and become all God created us to be…becoming the “super heroes” to those we encounter in our own sphere of influence.
I pray this will be true in each of our lives and all for God’s honor and glory. Amen.