Summary: This fun sermon series uses comic-book heroes as modern-day parables, uncovering hidden spiritual messages in the stories of superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-man. Most of these sermons are expository, alliterated and have PowerPoint!
Holy Heroes: X-Men
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 10/27/2013
If you did not make it out to the Halloween Parade in Carlinville, boy you really missed a show! We had over 15 members of the Grove suited up as almost every superhero you can imagine—Superman, Batman, Captain America, Spider-man, Thor, and whole bunch more! We had a fantastic time and all of our parade volunteers are now honorary members of Costumers for Christ.
Among the heroes onboard the float with us, were several members of the X-Men, including Wolverine, Cyclops and Marvel Girl. Ashley and I have portrayed Cyclops and Marvel Girl—also known as Scott Summers and Jean Grey—more than once using different versions of their costumes. Cyclops is the only superhero I know of who stands over 6’ tall, with red hair, whose name is Scott. So, he made my costuming to-do list pretty quickly!
The first time our family costumed as the X-Men was 2010. Since I was first introduced to the X-Men through the cartoon series in 1990s those were the versions of the characters that we did. I, of course, was Cyclops. Ashley was Cyclops’ romantic counterpart, Jean Grey. Our son was Wolverine (minus the claws), our older daughter was Rogue, and our youngest, who was just shy of one-year-old, was wearing a custom made X-men onesie.
A couple of years later, however, we returned as the original founding members of the X-Men, commonly called the First Class, a team of five which included Cyclops and Marvel Girl again along with Beast, Angel, and Iceman. This first class of X-Men go all the way back to 1963 when they were created (like so many others) by Stan Lee. Since then, they’ve starred in several cartoon series, a steady flow of video games, and six feature films, with a seventh currently in production.
When Stan Lee first came up with the concept for the X-Men, he admitted in an interview that his biggest struggle was to figure out how they all got their super-powers. He said, “I couldn’t have everybody bitten by radioactive spiders or hit by gamma rays… and I took the lazy way out.” Rather than acquiring their powers in some accident like most superheroes, the X-Men were simply born with their powers due to a genetic mutation. This team of mutants is led by a powerful telepath named Charles Xavier, lovingly referred to by his students as Professor X, who established a special school at his Westchester mansion to train young mutants to use their powers for the benefit of humanity, and to prove that mutants could be heroes.
There is a scene in the first X-Men movie where Wolverine first meets Charles and the rest of the X-Men the serves as good introduction to who the X-Men are:
• Play X-Men Movie Clip
The story of the X-Men actually has a lot in common with the story of God’s chosen people throughout the ages. Without getting too deep into the X-Men’s rich history and character backgrounds, I want to highlight just three similarities between the tale of the X-Men and the truth of Christ-followers today.
First, both Christians and the X-Men are a peculiar people.
• A PECULIAR PEOPLE
Some people are just a little peculiar, aren’t they? Like the man who said to his psychologist, “People think I’m weird because I like potato pancakes.” To which the psychologist responded, “That’s not weird, I also like potato pancakes.” At that point, the man responded excitedly, “That’s wonderful, Doc. Listen, why don’t you come over to my house — I have closets and closets full!”
The X-men are peculiar in a different way. In the comics, mutants are different from ordinary people. They have special powers and abilities that come from an “X-gene,” an unknown genetic abnormality that causes random mutations. Most of the X-Men still look like ordinary people, and those who don’t often do their best to hide their differences. In Marvel’s movie, X-Men: First Class, a mutant name Mystic, who has blue skin and the ability shape-shift at will, uses he shape-changing ability to look normal at all times—afraid of what people might think. In the third X-Men movie, Last Stand, Warren Worthington—also known as Angel—wears an uncomfortable harness to hide his enormous wings. But no matter how they appear on the surface, this x-gene along with their mutant abilities sets them apart from the rest of the world. They’re outsider who never really fit in. They’re uncanny. They’re peculiar. And so are Christians.
In fact, the Bible actually uses that very word in describing God’s chosen people: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9 KJV). Normally when we see the word peculiar it’s referring to someone or something that is strange, odd or uncommon—like the guy who has a closet full of potato pancakes. But it can be used to describe something or someone that “belongs exclusively to some person, group or thing” or to “a property or privilege belonging exclusively or characteristically to a person.” In other words, Peter is saying that Christians are different from other people. They have characteristics that identify them as belonging exclusively to God. The God’s Word Translation puts it this way: “you are chosen people… people who belong to God” (1 Peter 2:9 GWT).