Caped Crusader, Robed Redeemer
A few years ago at Halloween, my wife and I went to a costume party dressed as Batman and Robin. My wife was a good sport to take on the role of the sidekick Boy Wonder. She struggled into the tight Robin outfit. “What age is this meant for?” she grunted. “Does it say anything on the package?”
“Just a label saying ‘Intended for use by adolescent boys lacking the confidence to be Batman.’”
Finally she stood in front of our bathroom mirror, decked out in red and green Spandex and a yellow cape. “I look like an idiot.”
“A super-idiot,” I corrected her.
As we drove off to the party in full costume, it was easy for me to imagine that I was indeed Batman, gripping the wheel of the sleek and intimidating Batmobile, zooming off in pursuit of evildoers. “Activate!” I commanded Robin, pointing to the rocket-launcher controls.
“Those are cup holders,” said the Boy Wonder, in an irritating female voice.
When I was a kid, my allowance was invariably spent on comic books. Heaps of them were stacked around my room. They were rich repositories of escapist adventure, but also of important life lessons, like “Never give in to evil”, and “Only superheroes are admired for wearing underwear over their pants” (as I learned the hard way one day in 5th grade, thinking myself a trend-setter).
These days every other film being released is a superhero movie. Maybe people flock to these flicks because deep down they’re hungry for heroes. Political figures, athletes, movie stars, business titans… sooner or later their light dims either from self-destruction or scandalous revelation. The pedestals we put celebrities on are as sturdy as soufflés. But fictional superheroes, for all the flaws placed in them by writers, can always be counted on to fight for what’s right and to be super when it matters.
Christians believe that Jesus is the ultimate hero. He beat the toughest Enemy and will never let anyone down who puts faith in him. I wonder if he’s planning on looking more like a superhero when he returns someday. I used to picture him arriving in a glowing white robe, but really that’s so first century. I could see his conversation with Wardrobe, days before the Second Coming, going something like this:
“Here’s what we’re thinking, Lord… Stylish. Regal. AND aerodynamic for your descent through the clouds. A bodysuit—purple, the color of royalty—with a flowing gold cape and a big star across your chest.”
“At the end of Revelation, you called yourself the bright Morning Star. Remember? Such a hopeful image!”
“I do remember. I don’t remember calling myself the bright purple Morning Star though.”
“You’ll look fabulous! The army of angels preceding you to Earth will announce “Behold! He comes! Captain Morning Star!’”
“Captain Morning Star?”
“Gives you a real superhero vibe. The gang in Marketing loves it.”
“I appreciate the effort, but it’s not me. What’s that barking?”
“SonSpot the Wonder Dog.”
“I need to go see my Dad.”
None of us know, of course, how Jesus will appear when he returns. But forgive the kid in me for hoping it will be in a really cool Messiah-mobile. With a great big cup holder for a victory drink.