Did you ever notice how many fictional characters are orphans, especially those who have super powers or magical powers. Superman is an orphan. Batman is an orphan. Spiderman is an orphan. Luke Skywalker is an orphan. Harry Potter is an orphan.
Why is that? It is because being an orphan resonates very deeply with the human psyche. It helps us identify with the character, because every one of us feels at time alone, and a little bit like an orphan.
Interestingly enough a number of these fictional stories about heroes seem to be based on stories in the bible. Moses was like an orphan, brought up by a princess, who is seeking his real identity and comes back to save his people, using special powers to save his people from an oppressive overlord who is genocidal. Luke Skywalker is an orphan whose sister is a princess who fins out about his real identity and seeks to save his people, using the force, from an evil overlord who has committed genocide.
Superman’s real name is Kal –El which translated from Hebrew is “voice of God” His father sends his only son to earth to be a light to show them the way. He comes and is adopted by Martha and Jonathan which sound a little bit like Mary and Joseph. Superman is based on Jesus.
Jesus is a kind of orphan. Brought up by Joseph, his adoptive father, his real father is God. At his baptism, he finds his real identity, understands how much he is loved by God, and receives his superpower, which is the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love, joy. peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, At his baptism Jesus receives his mission, which is to share that Spirit with others.
And the people he shares his Spirit, his love, his superpowers with, is us. We too are baptized into this Spirit and we receive the same superpowers through the Spirit, the greatest of which is love.
At times we are all orphans, because we were all created in the image of God as God’s children and we have lost our way. And at times we all feel like orphans because we do not live like the children of God we were born to be. We at times feel like orphans because we know that there is another way to live that isn’t so full of conflict and drama, and hurt feelings and bad thoughts, and selfishness, and trying to get more money and get more things. We know there must be a peace that passes human understanding. We know that there is an abundant life waiting. We know we have a purpose and a destiny.
And it is simply this: to be doused or drenched in unconditional love and forgiveness. To be swamped with acceptance. And to turn around a go a new way or loving others the way God has loved us. This year we can all be superheroes and use our superpowers to love one another and share God’s spirit.
Harry Currie, First Presbyterian Church, Edmonton