Rev. Dr. Michael Piazza

What is YOUR Superpower?

During the past several weeks, we have been looking at various fictional superheroes as a way to unleash the superhero in us all. As we end this series today, I want to be sure that you are clear that you were created to be a superhero and that you have been given superpowers.

Oh, it probably isn’t the ability to fly or extraordinary strength, and you probably can’t shoot webs from your wrists or deflect bullets with your bracelets. Still, I’m convinced that buried deep inside each of us is a power that makes us unique if we can identify it, claim it, and practice it until it makes us super. Perhaps the greatest challenge to being empowered is our incapacity to believe there is a hero hidden within us. The Bible is filled with men and women who live heroic lives, yet it is clear all God’s children are gifted with superpowers, which the New Testament refers to as “spiritual gifts.”

A Superpower We ALL Need

The fictional superheroes so popular in comic books, movies, and TV series are women and men who have an extraordinary power that we mere mortals seem to lack. We tend to forget, however, that their superpower would be pretty meaningless if it was not coupled with very human traits like courage, and compassion, and a sense of justice. Having a superpower and keeping it to yourself, or using it for your own benefit, won’t make you a superhero, which may be why there are so few of them.

You and I already should have the elements in our lives that make us capable of being superheroes. A superhero’s special power may be the easy part. What’s tough is developing the personal characteristics to make the superpower work.

Wonder Women

Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, first appeared in a DC Comic book in October 1941. The character was created by William Marston, a psychologist already famous for inventing the polygraph. He became obsessed with the idea of a new kind of superhero, one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love. "Fine," said his psychologist wife, Elizabeth. "But you must make her a woman."

Living with Flash

This month, we have been using superheroes as our modern parables in the hope that we might uncover our own superpowers and become the superhero of God’s dreams. I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about some of the superheroes we’ve talked about, until today’s. Somehow, my household became a bit obsessed with the television series “The Flash,” which premiered five years ago.

That may be because Grant Gustin, the actor playing Barry Allen, aka the Flash, is cute and looks good in his red suit, but I think what has held my attention is the Flash is a superhero who struggles with the limits and consequences of his power. As the “fastest man alive,” he has to work not to outrun the foundational values of his life.

Family is one of those values, and the beautiful thing about this series is family isn’t about only blood relations. Barry was raised by an African American police officer, and his team of misfits at Star Labs all become his family, in the best sense of that word.

I Can Do This All Day

As I considered this sermon series, which focuses on discovering our superpowers and becoming superheroes, I began to ponder the philosophical and metaphysical differences between superpowers and magical powers.

Now, I know that even positing that question is going to send a couple of you down a rabbit hole from now until the benediction, so let me hasten to introduce today’s superhero mentor and the parable their life provides.

Steve Rogers is Captain America, but he wasn’t always a superhero … or maybe he was. His story begins at the onset of World War II. A young Steve Rogers is so stirred by his sense of justice and love of country that he tries to volunteer to go fight the Nazis. I’m not sure what reason the Army gave for rejecting him repeatedly, but the bottom line was he simply was too scrawny to be a soldier.