This Sunday we begin our summer film series at Hickory Neck called “Faith and Film.” When I announced to our parish that this year’s theme would be superheroes, I got some raised eyebrows. My suspicion is that for those of our parish who have not already blocked out the next five Sunday evenings, their raised eyebrows are because superhero movies may seem frivolous, superficial, or even violent. On the surface, I can understand the suspicions. For a long time, I though superhero films dabbled a little too much in escapism and fantasy. And there is certainly some of that component to the films – who doesn’t enjoy what filmmakers can do with computer graphics these days?!
But at the heart of these films is something much more significant. Each film seems to asks deep, defining questions. What kind of person are you going to be? What morals or ethics will rule your life? What things are of ultimate significance in your life? What responsibility do you have for the world and people around you? These questions are not frivolous questions. When someone dons a Captain America hat or a Wonder Woman shirt, they are not just celebrating a fun, fictional hero – they are also celebrating a moral way of life.
I cannot imagine anything more relevant to a disciple of Jesus than discerning and making decisions about your life that reflect your morals and ethics. As Episcopalians, we look to our baptismal covenant for that definition. It defines five core elements: 1) continuing in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of the bread, and the prayers, 2) resisting evil, and, whenever we fall into sin, repenting and returning to the Lord, 3) proclaiming by word and example the Good News of God in Christ, 4) seeking and serving Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and 5) striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being.[i]
These days, as our current political climate challenges us on more and more specific issues, I cannot imagine a better topic than to talk about what defines us and our behavior, and then recommitting to that identity and purpose. The good news is that if you are able to make it to all five movies, the following Sunday (August 5), we will be renewing our baptismal covenants as we baptize a child of God – an event where we all commit to being superheroes in the life of Christ. I hope you will join us for this fun, sometimes frivolous, but mostly foundational journey.
[i] Book of Common Prayer, 304-304.