Hebrews 11:32-40 (CEB)
This, of course, is where Barak Obama got his name from. (not this particular passage – but from the biblical character – Barak.) Barak is a biblical name, unlike other names, like (errrr) Donald. His story is all part of the incident where Jael whacked a tent-peg through Sisera’s head… sisters went for it back then – Tarantino should be making a film of it…
Barak comes from the Arabic: al-Burāq which means “lightning”, which – come to think of it – is kinda like a superhero name! (again, unlike Donald.)
The book of Hebrews identifies a whole long list of characters as “heroes”.
The obvious question is “who are your heroes?” – general heroes and/or “faith” heroes.
But I find question very hard to answer. I have never been someone who has had “heroes”. Other people ask the question as if it is the most natural thing in the world to have heroes – and it is a bit like naming your desert island discs… but I have never had “heroes”, not the ordinary kind, not the faith-kind.
Of course I have known people who I have admired and whose faith has impressed me – but “heroes” suggests something a bit stronger than that. It does to me, anyway!
I’ve been thinking about this today. Why don’t I have heroes? (I just mistyped that as herpes! That might have been an easier question to answer!)
I suspect that I am suspicious of people who appear to be “perfect”. I think, rightly or wrongly, I have the idea that “heroes” are impossible characters, they must be hiding something. Or maybe I have the idea that people who HAVE heroes are ignoring the obvious flaws in their heroes. The “hero” didn’t set out to be one, but the hero-lover idealises her/him and I think this is dehumanising. I can see that the problem is probably with me – and that I have a false idea about what the whole hero thing means to people, but that’s where I am, it’s who I am and consequently, I don’t have any “heroes”. (Or maybe I have just got “heroes” mixed up with “super-heroes”?)
“But isn’t Jesus your hero?” I hear you protest….
Maybe you’ve got me there, though “my hero” is not something I think I would ever say of Jesus. Looking back at that list that the author of Hebrews writes, though..
- they conquered kingdoms,
- they brought about justice,
- they shut the mouths of lions,
- they put out raging fires,
- they escaped from the edge of the sword,
- they found strength in weakness,
- they were mighty in war
- they routed foreign armies
- they were tortured and refused to be released
There’s a kind-of odd one out in there that doesn’t look immediately to me like conventional “hero” behaviour alongside all the lion-taming and army-vanquishing….
If finding strength in weakness and inspiring others to do likewise is “heroic” – then I guess Jesus IS my hero and it turns out I have known LOTS of people who match that description. Maybe I DO have
herpes heroes after all!
What about you?
PS “they brought about justice” is also an interesting one in the list. hmmmmm…..
yeah – convincing live performance boys!!!! 🙂