Almost everyone I know has someone they consider as their favourite hero or heroine. Sometimes an historical figure, sometimes a sporting example or maybe a film star or musician maybe. Perhaps you may have had the same individual right the way through from childhood to the present day. I began, like many of my contemporaries in Stoke-on-Trent at the time with Stanley Matthews, the so called ‘Wizard of Dribble’. He inspired many a schoolboy of the early 60’s to become a footballer, however I was put off when he nearly ran my mother and I over one day in Stoke. Later I was very taken with Alan Ball, not the footballer but the WW1 VC air ace who many folk didn’t know.
Then I really discovered, for myself, films on the television and occasionally at the cinema. It was through these I developed an affiliation with John Wayne, I enjoyed him particularly in the John Ford trilogy and his several appearances in the WW2 based films. Later I would discover other genres such as the character he played in ‘Donovan’s Reef’, a bit of a comedy. Over the years he has been a constant in my appreciation of the cinematic world. I have also in my possession the large bobble-head which stands on my bookshelf where he is dressed as an American soldier, alongside this is a much smaller metallic version of him straight from one of John Ford’s western trilogy as a US cavalry officer.
Heroes and heroines come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, some because of their time have been young and some old. They have been people who you might not expect to inspire others, in times of war, in times of civil unrest, in times of danger when no-one else acted they did.
How many people recognised the early followers of Jesus as heroes or heroines? How many of them were martyred for their faith? Crucified, whipped, stoned, shot by arrows, burnt to death were just some of the ways they faced death and yet did not deny their faith in Jesus as the Son of God. Could any of us face up to any form of torture and still proclaim our faith and trust in Him? There are many Christians today in different countries who are persecuted for their faith and dying because of it. The rate of persecution is higher than ever for many years, please pray for our brothers and sisters that if faced with what they are going through, we might prove to have the strength to persevere
John Pugh (Rev) Wymeswold Methodist