Why We Prefer Our Heroes Fallen
One of them is liar. Floyd Landis or Lance Armstrong. And apparently Floyd Landis would be the leading contender for the title. No love lost on him in the sports world. But it may be that both Floyd and Lance are less than honest with themselves and the world. We know for sure that Landis doped his blood and Armstrong has never been able fully to shake the charge. For sure he dumped his wife.
Of course lying and cheating is no respecter of sport or politics or profession. Think Tiger Woods, Mark McGwire, Kobe Bryant and, yes, Steelers fans, Ben Roethlisberger. Think John Edwards, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. Think Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard. Think you and me.
My generation lived by the mantra of not trusting anyone over thirty. Now we simply do not trust anyone. Period. Not parents who may abandon us, lovers who may jilt us, friends who may desert us or bosses who may fire us. And maybe the sooner our heroes fall, the better. We get the disappointment over early – before we’ve begun to believe the hype and, heaven forbid, start to trust.
Late one Sunday afternoon, two friends were walking home after a very long week in the city. If you had seen them you would have known in a minute that they were disappointed. It showed in their downcast eyes and their slumping shoulders. You could see it by the dust they kicked up, too discouraged to really lift their feet as they walked along.
They were disappointed for they had trusted him, they had hoped he would be the one. They readily admitted as much to the Stranger who joined them on their walk.
Of course, we know the trust Cleopas and his friend had put in Jesus was not misplaced. Jesus did not disappoint them and they knew he hadn’t when he broke bread with them and as they remembered the burning in their hearts.
In Jesus Christ we meet the God who, as Moses told Joshua on the far shore of the Jordan, “goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Saying that we did not trust anyone over thirty was foolish, almost comically so. To have become a people who do not trust period is tragic. So, to be sure, turn to Jesus, because he will not disappoint.
But here’s the rub. Romans 10:14-15: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
How can they hear without someone preaching to them? How can they trust without someone being trustworthy to them? Sinners one and all, we are. Feet of clay. Earthen vessels. Broken by the fall. Works still in progress. Daily in need of grace and forgiveness. That and more. But that our feet of clay would be beautiful as we allow the One in whom we may put all our trust to be known through the sermon that is our lives.
Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues, bosses and workers – God calls us to be people who can be trusted, everyday heroes. And may we, may Langhorne Presbyterian Church, be a people and a place where trust is never misplaced.
Why We Prefer Our Heroes Fallen