everybody loves a hero

ImageHow many superheroes can you name in 5 seconds? Batman, Superman, and Spiderman are probably the most popular, but if you ask a true fan like my sister, she can easily delve into subcategories and lesser-known characters until you scream stop.  The popular superheroes tell modern days stories of triumph that resemble the ancient Greek warriors.  Every culture has their superhero because, as Spiderman’s Aunt May says, “Lord knows, kids need a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names.”

Superheroes are known for sacrificing a normal life in order to fight evil.  The masked crime-fighters teach us that we can’t save the world and still make it home for supper.  The deeper message here is that fulfilling a personal mission requires sacrifice.  Superheroes are required to deny family, time with friends, and an altogether ‘normal life’ for the chance to save-the-world.

Sacrifice humanizes the superheroes.  We can relate to their longings for worldly goods, and we idolize them for tossing their personal desires aside.  The sacrifice is also what highlights just how dedicated they are to their mission.  There is pain in sacrifice, but there is also the promise that the gain will be with it.

The battle of good vs evil continues today, and opportunities to act on the side of good are all around us.  I’m not suggesting that we pick costumes and superhero names (even thought that might be some fun), but I am asking people to make a conscious effort to act as a force for good.  Think of ways to help others.  Be kind to strangers.  Volunteer your time.

All this superhero talk convinced me to hang masks around St. Paul and Minneapolis as a little reminder to fight for what is good: