Spiderman and the Unknown Community

Rev Jeremy SmithHello! I’m Jeremy and I’m new here! I began as the Minister of Discipleship on July 1st, and with being new comes moving boxes, unpacking, arranging, re-arranging…and welcome moments of leisure.

In one of those leisure moments, I viewed the latest Spiderman movie (The Amazing Spiderman 2012) with a friend. As with most comic book adaptions, the movie tried to keep to the tradition of having a moral element to it: a lesson for pre-teens and teens to likely give as an reason for viewing the movie. In this Spiderman movie, the moral element was kind of like the Liberty Mutual commercials or the movie Pay It Forward (2000)…whenever we do good for another person, that person passes on that good to someone else. In the movie, the father of a child that Spiderman saved later helps Spiderman in a critical moment to win the day.

It occurred to me that Spiderman was helped by an unknown community. While often the web-slinging hero feels alone and demonized by society, there’s a subgroup of people who have been directly affected by Spiderman’s helpfulness. And often, just when the movie seems like Spiderman will fail and evil will win the day, this unknown community steps up and helps support Spiderman through the dark times.

While few of us can shoot spiderwebs from our wrists, all of us can contribute to an unknown community at First United Methodist Church in Portland.

  • Whenever we hear of a prayer request, we can offer prayers daily, send off an email or a letter to the afflicted, or check with the church to see how we might be of help to that person.
  • Whenever we see our leaders needing help with something, we can volunteer, come in and process with the leadership, and champion a solution rather than critique the problem.
  • Whenever we see problems in our city, we can start asking questions of our neighbors, organizations, churches and leaders. We can seek justice, no matter how “ordinary” a person we might feel we are.
  • Whenever we feel alone, we can get together with others for breakfast, brunch, coffee, or dinner, and be reminded of the joys of community and the needs for accountability to one another.

These actions are rarely acknowledged and rarely rewarded. But once you are part of this unknown community, the community with no names that does actions of grace and mercy without expectation of return, you are a superhero indeed. And in these difficult times of economic distress, family dysfunctions, and the divide between the rich and poor growing ever wider, we need heroes like never before.

Whether your name is known or not, the unknown community at First UMC is terrific and already in place. Won’t you join this week? It’s a superhero group without membership fees and without skintight costumes, and you’ll fit right in.

Blessings, ~Jeremy

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