By Paul Koch –
When I made it home from church on Thanksgiving morning the house was full of chaos. The family, including 5 kids, were changing and packing to head down to visit some good friends for a fine feast and a few days of rest and relaxation. After preaching, the first thing I usually want to do is take a nap; but not on this day. This day was just getting started. I had to also change, load the minivan like I was playing Tetris, and carefully secure the 8 pies my wife and daughters had baked. Then, of course, there was traffic on the 405 to look forward to! But it was all worth it, for I knew that the Keith family would welcome us with open arms and a cold cocktail at the end of the trip.
As everyone was loaded up in the car, my son approached me holding his Batman cape in his hand. He asked with grave concern if he could wear his cape for the trip. Now, perhaps, a Batman cape isn’t the best attire for a nice dinner with friends and family. But it wasn’t like he was wearing the whole costume – just the cape. That black cape, secured with safety pins to the collar of a 4 year-old’s shirt, wasn’t about fashion or proper decorum. It was something much more. It was a means to become the superhero he longs to be. Wearing the cape he could defeat the bad guys, save his sisters, and even help his dad pack the car. So I pinned the cape to his shirt!
I think it is a sad thing that we grow out of pinning capes to our shirts. Oh, I know there is the growing popularity of cosplay and the elaborate costumes found at Comic-Cons across the country. However, I would imagine that you would be hard pressed to find there one so committed as my son wearing a Batman cape as he jumped off the steps to hold back the enemy forces. It wasn’t just a distraction or a simple game it was a symbol of what he wanted to be. He couldn’t care less who saw him in the cape. It simply made sense to him that he was wearing it. But, it has been a long time since most of us have worn our capes outside.
Yet, we in the church have been given treasures that ought to inspire us to dust off our capes again, pin them to our shirts, and boldly walk the streets without shame.
We have treasures far greater than Bruce Wayne’s billions of dollars, treasures that are more powerful than Superman’s strength. Hidden within the gathering of God’s children rest gifts that can tear down and build up, wound and heal, kill and bring forth life again. They are treasures infused with the Words that established the fabric of our universe and turned on the sun like it was a light bulb. These Words that can reduce men to ashes or lift them from the mud to crown them as kings.
“He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit, If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.’” (John 20:22-23) We are called to be the heroes this world needs. We have been given by God the power to kill and make alive, to bind and set free. We are sent out to do this great work. We are to be the hit men and midwives of God to kill the unrepentant sinner with the Word of God’s pure and immovable Law. And to the droves that are already broken, to the hurting and distraught we speak a Word that gives life and hope and strength. We arrive on the scene of their brokenness to proclaim the forgiveness of God.
These Words are yours. They first killed you in your sin and then filled you with Christ himself making you more than you were before. They give to you a new life, a new hope, and a new confidence. So use them, speak them to a world that desperately needs them, and hand them on with reckless abandon.
And if you need help pinning on your cape, I have a stash of safety pins ready to go.