i saw a preview for a show (or a movie? not sure which) that asked the question, "what makes a hero?" the question was left unanswered, suggesting that we need to watch the show to find out what makes the flash so fast, or what makes superman fly or what makes criminals cower in fear from the dark knight. you could do that. you could watch the show. or the movie. or read the comic book.
or you could come to church.
because that is what we are dealing with in this season. we are in the middle of a 6-week sermon series in which we are specifically looking at what makes someone a real hero. so often we think that the heroes are the exceptional ones, the ones with "super" powers, or fame or fortune. when it comes to the life of faith, we relegate heroes either to the pantheons of patriarchs (abraham, moses, david and so forth), or to the supposed "saints" in our own churches and lives, those who have taught sunday school for 47 years, and who always seem to have an answer for any question about the Bible.
but that's just fiction. or fantasy. either way, it simply isn't true. the real heroes are the sinners sitting through another sermon, trying to make sense of their lives; trying to piece together some meaning from their checkered past, and trying to come terms with the extravagant grace that has shown them love time and time again.
we've been taking a look back at the Bible to see some of the "stories between the Stories," so to speak. we know about moses and joshua, but what about rahab? we know about peter and john, but what about jairus? we know about david, but what about abigail? what about uriah? these may not be characters from the felt board pantomimes of your youth. they may not be characters that you know at all. but they are heroes, all the same. and they teach us that we, too, are called to be heroes of the faith. not by having superpowers. not by having the Bible memorized or by being ultra-righteous. not by having a squeaky-clean past, or even a prim and proper present. no, these heroes are very much flawed. just like me. they are prostitutes and hypocrites. they are sometimes self-serving. they are sometimes incredibly unremarkable. but they demonstrate something important when the moment is ripe. it may be generosity, when it would seem wiser to clutch your possessions tightly. or it might be persistence when it would seem saner to just give up. it might be authenticity and honesty when it would seem more prudent to pretend to be someone you are not. it might be any number of things, but heroes aren't so much super as they are struck by grace.
what makes a hero? the courage to be yourself. the persistence to never quit. the generosity to let go of what you think you deserve. the hope to believe that things will be redeemed, that people will be redeemed. a faith hero isn't any different than you. it is you. are you willing to be that hero? to live boldly in the moment which you have been given?