I'm a Marvel comic book fan, have been since my junior school years. I was born the same year as the Amazing Spider-Man, 1962. I know his origin story as well as I know my own life story. Steve Ditko and Stan Lee created a memorable character.
I love how every Marvel character has a distinct origin story and clear character traits that are consistently threaded through the story lines of the past 50 years.
Spider-Man, Peter Parker, is an orphan and unlucky in love; he's a geek, but really smart and he's usually struggling financially. He learned to his cost that with great power comes great responsibility, but little personal security.
The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner, is a mild-mannered scientist with an angry alter ego. Consistently misunderstood and hounded by the authorities, there's no situation that can't be improved with a double handed smash.
Marvel writers typically keep their stories consistent with the continuity established in earlier publications. But sometimes a bold writer might depart from Marvel lore, changing the character or altering their circumstances. Some fans would react favorably, some would send hate mail. (Fans have a lot invested in their childhood heroes.)
As an adult now I have a few years of adventures behind me; some I'm proud of, some I'm not. I'm grateful that the good news of Jesus Christ is that he does not tie his followers to their earlier story lines, trying to maintain consistent continuity. He uses that foundation to build something new. A new start, a new heart and healing of the past.
Christ does not limit you based on your past. Irrespective of your socio-economic standing, your gender, your education, your race, your scars - Christ brings new life. Irrespective of past mistakes, Jesus brings hope.
Skin deep scars were easy to shoulder,
while the deeper ones each hardened my heart.
Life-long wounds still wept and smouldered,
carving permanent paths.
Hidden cuts wouldn't stop itching,
and beneath my smile shadows kept screaming.
Treacherous memories would sting
and bite right through my once thick skin
then slowly burrow, refusing to die,
spreading their cursed lies ...
The scars are mine, the wounds are real,
the memories follow me, still
I was the haunted boy, the wild child.
I was the son, loved, beaten and reviled.
I was the dreamer. I was the drama.
I was the fiction that made me me......
That was then, but now see,
I have a new writing team,
a change in narrative, a brand new me,
a departure from past continuity.
Now I have a team-up.
Now I have back-up.
And in this story arc,
I get a power-up:
one new ability,
His power to HEAL ME!
Life's not a comic book, it's much more exciting than that.
If you would like to know more about how Jesus changes lives, why not come along to Redeemer this Sunday. You won't find any superheroes, but you will find people enjoying renewed lives.