“Mommy look, Moses has a cape and a glow stick—just like a superhero!” said my five-year-old son as we read a Bible story. I thought, “Yeah, I guess Moses could be a superhero. He did mighty acts through the power of God and rescued millions of people from pharaoh, an evil antagonist.”
The Outward Marks of a Hero
In the mind of a child, a cape and stick are marks of a superhero. The media has trained them to recognize outward symbols. Capes are for flying, rods are for blowing up things, and there are sometimes special gadgets and getaway cars.
A Hero’s Journey
But the personal struggles each superhero endures before they save others are less recognized. Thugs murdered Bruce Wayne’s parents before he would become Batman. Clark Kent worked through an identity crisis, finding out about his real parents and home planet before he would become Superman. Both characters emphasize a valuable lesson: a hero always has a journey.
Hollywood recognized this years ago. Screenwriters credit Joseph Campbell with defining the movie writing structure called the Hero’s Journey. Christopher Vogler expanded upon Campbell’s work in The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by representing the hero’s journey in 12 major steps:
- Heroes are introduced in the Ordinary World, where
- They receive the Call to Adventure.
- They are Reluctant at first or Refuse the Call, but
- Are encouraged by a Mentor to
- Cross the First Threshold and enter the Special World, where
- They encounter Tests, Allies, and Enemies.
- They Approach the Inmost Cave, crossing a second threshold
- Where they endure the Ordeal
- They take possession of their Reward and
- Are pursued on The Road Back to the Ordinary World
- They cross the third threshold, experience a Resurrection, and a transformed by the experience.
- They Return with the Elixir, a boon or treasure to benefit the Ordinary World.
While Campbell and Vogler may have extracted these elements and made them popular, these 12 steps pre-date them both. They are steps that the heroes and sheroes of ancient, Biblical times had to endure, and we endure in the everyday journey called life.
Yes, if a cape and a rod make Moses a superhero, the everyday journey behind my apron and broom make me one too. In fact, we all have a hero’s journey to travel: a call, a first threshold to cross, tests, allies, an enemy, ordeals and a reward that awaits us after the resurrection and judgment seat of Christ. Some of us travel wearing aprons while others wear business suits or a nurse’s uniform, but we are all traveling. The Apostle Peter even beseeched us as strangers and pilgrims because, like Superman, we are in this world but not of this world (1 Peter 2:11).
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Sometimes, the challenge is remembering that the supernatural can take place within the seemingly mundane. The routine of day-to-day living, getting the kids ready in the morning, picking them up and helping with homework presents hero opportunities. Remember, the Holy Spirit gives us access to the supernatural and the capacity to do greater works than Jesus did (John 14:12). Like Jesus, who turned water into wine, we can believe God for supernatural provision, pray for healing when our children are sick and witness to the next generation. So the next time you put on an apron, remember there’s a superhero in you… because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
P.S. You can join our supermom declaration. Get your supermom apron today!