Educator Geoffrey Canada described his heartbreak as a child when his mother told him that Superman wasn’t real.
He was crushed not because his comic-book fantasies had been shattered but because, as a boy in a failing school in the Bronx, he suddenly realized that “there was no one out there with enough power to save us.”
Today he is the president of the Harlem Children’s Zone which tries to increase high school and college graduation rates in Harlem. Geoffrey Canada’s story is where a 2010 controversial movie got its title: “Waiting For Superman.” The movie is about kids waiting for a good education that is often not available.
Setting aside the heated debates about the movie and its indictment of the modern educational system, it’s a concept we can all understand. ”Waiting for Superman…”
In the comic book heroes of our childhood, in the adventure novels and movies of our youth, in our passion over politics in our adulthood, we betray our inner longing for some superman, some hero, some perfect president or politician to come and save us.
We sense that the world we live in is a broken-down neighborhood. We spend our lives waiting for someone to show up and do something about it.
But we soon learn that the books and movies are only pretend. The professors and politicians can’t change the neighborhood. Our favorite heroes have feet of clay.
Nor should any of this surprise us. All of these “supermen” are saviors of our own design, crafted in our own image, and so no better than ourselves.
We need a Savior wiser and mightier than ourselves. We need a Savior who crafts us in His image, who comes to us from above, yet steps into our broken-down neighborhood to become one of us, one who is God and Man.
Today we begin a survey of the life of Solomon. Young King Solomon comes to the throne of his father, David, knowing that he is no superman. He trembles at the prospect of governing God’s people.
Given a blank check by God Himself, to name and claim whatever he wants, young Solomon asks the Lord for a wise and discerning heart.
So pleased is God with Solomon’s request that He grants Solomon untold wealth and power as well. Solomon’s early years are an object lesson on the words of Jesus: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
A new school year is approaching. In our Christian schools, in these handmaidens to the Christian home, our children’s hearts and minds are still given to bow before the Word of Him who died and rose again, who made them and redeemed them. Whatever else we may ask of God for ourselves and our children, whatever else we may deem important, there is no substitute for “the one thing needful.” We need no “superman” to come and save us. Christ has already done this. In the Gospel, we and our children learn that there is Someone “with enough power to save us.”