(Image courtesy of michael-myers.net)
Does the sight of this picture make you smile? There’s a good chance it does, if you’re a child of the 80s as I am. A lot of my childhood memories are tied up in cartoons, especially He-Man. There’s a warm, fuzzy feeling about watching vintage He-Man episodes, like all was right with the world. It was obvious who was good and who was up to no good. No matter how dire things appeared to get, you had faith that He-Man and the forces of good would triumph over the evils of Skeletor and his minions. There was a lesson, a moral, to each tale and it was worth paying attention to He-Man when he explained it. But then, I grew up and He-Man went off the air, traded for the classic TGIF line up of Full House, Family Matters, and Perfect Strangers.
With a reflective eye, I see that He-Man has not lost his magic, or his lessons. In fact, perhaps there is still much to be learned in a closer examination of, what I call, the He-Man Parallel. While He-Man was (and still is!) amazing, he is actually a regular human being: Adam of Eternia. He is awkward, even clumsy, as his normal self. Only when he calls upon the power of Grayskull is he transformed into He-Man, “the most powerful man in the universe” according to the cartoon’s intro. Christians are also people of transformation. We are mere mortals before our transformation through faith. Just as He-Man received the power of Grayskull, we receive the presence of the Holy Spirit through baptism. I can truly say that I have been able to do things by the power of the Holy Spirit that I could never do on my own. Without it, like Adam, I am cowardly, and feel a lack of inner strength, but with it, I feel able to “do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
As our picture reveals, He-Man does not act alone. He has a group of friends, as determined to champion good as he is, who help him and live in community together. They have put themselves at risk in order to help He-Man, just as Christians are called to do. Philippians says, “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interest of others” (2:4). He has a community who believe what he believes, who support one another, who act according to their beliefs, and seek to build up one another with their own unique talents, gifts, and abilities. Sounds a lot like the Body of Christ that the Apostle Paul describes, “For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:4-10). And how did I ever miss the red cross on his breastplate? He-Man has Saint George’s Cross (of Scandinavia) on his outfit. Ironic, don’t you think that he fights against evil, stands for good, strives to convey a moral he’s learned from his experience, and does all of it wearing the symbol of Christianity. He-Man is not Jesus Christ or even intended to be some sort of saint, but I find even more reasons to rekindle my love of his show when I look with my Christian lens. When I embrace my faith, like He-Man, I too find that “I have the power!”