I think most young children at some point want to be a superhero. They go through a phase where they want to be Batman or Spiderman. If it is not a super hero, then it is a witch from Hogwarts, a Jedi, a transformer, or a Disney princess. No matter what appeals most to them the reasons are often the same. At some point we go through a phase where want to be special, we want to be the star, and we want to be the hero. The tragic part is that eventually we realize this dream is unrealistic. Some day we learn and internalize that we are never going to be Batman, that we will never be able to use the force, and that our letter from Hogwarts is not coming. For some people, this internally crushing realization causes them to leave the loves of their childhood behind. They think they are too old for childish things and move on to less fun pursuits forever. Other people move on but appreciate whatever it was that lit up their imagination and heart for the rest of their life.
In real life we do not get to put on a cape, jump over buildings in a single leap, or fight crime with super powers. However, one of the things that I appreciate most about the Christian faith that believers in Christ do have a higher calling. We are meant to do something special and we are to be a force of good in the world.
Jesus himself said this about his followers in the gospel of Matthew there is a large section of Jesus’ teachings referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. As part of those teachings Jesus tells his followers, “You are the light of the world.” Jesus encourages his followers to be like lamps. The lamp lights up the whole house and the followers of Jesus are to bring light wherever they are. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus encourages, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.”
A lamp is not the light though, a lamp is just a vessel that hold the light. As followers of Christ the light does not come from ourselves, it comes from God. We should live in such a way that our lives have a joy found in Christ, a peace found in Christ, and a love found in Christ that we shine. As Christians this light Christ should help define the core of our identity and it is the source of our power. Just like super heroes have a power that allows them to do great thing, through the light of Christ we can change the world. In fact, I believe that we are like super heroes.
The super hero that followers of Christ most closely resemble is Superman. We may not be faster than a speeding bullet, or able to leap buildings in a single bound, but we do share something in common with superman. Superman is different than every other super hero. Every other hero like Spiderman and Batman, put on their costume. Batman is Bruce Wayne until he puts on the suit. Superman is different though. He is always Superman, Clark Kent is his disguise. When superman jumps into a phone booth he does not put on his costume, he takes off what is hiding who he is underneath. In the same way, we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. The light of Christ is already in us. As disciples of Christ in faith, the light is who we are. We simply have to take off what is covering it up.
For some of us that maybe fear that covers up our light. We might be afraid of failure or we might be afraid of how we will have to change if we take following Jesus a little more seriously. For others, it may be cynicism. Perhaps there has been one too many things that did not work right, one too many times you were let down. It can be far easy to assume everything is doomed to fail, and therefore never try or take a risks. For others it may be anger that holds us back. If we are not willing to forgive others show the same mercy that God showed us, then our light is covered up. May we not hide the light of Christ in us, but may we let it shine out.