It’s Spirit Week in the upper school, and today is “Dress like a Superhero” day. As I was reading John 20 in preparing for our All School Easter Chapel, I was struck by how Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first. Jesus has just conquered sin and death, the Kingdom of God is beginning a new era, and who is the first person with whom Jesus shares this news? A person who:

  • As a woman, would have virtually no rights or social standing.
  • Given her background, would have been socially ostracized and seen as “a scary person” by those who were a part of mainstream society.
  • As a Jew, would have been disregarded by the Roman Imperial Court who had conquered and was oppressing the people of Israel.

The first person Jesus appeared to was a nobody who would’ve been a little scary to the normal people. If I was God, I would do this differently, and I love how Jesus continues to surprise and disrupt me.   These are some of the Superheroes of the Bible, and I wanted to dress up like one.

I want the students to feel like they’re in this Story, and so I started to think about how to help them feel the mixture of disregard and fear that somebody might have felt in Mary Magdalene’s presence (or the Woman at the well, or Zacchaeus, or…). What might a Superhero of this sort look like today?

I dressed up like a homeless person, and positioned myself by the bike rack at the upper school at 7:35 a.m., so that I would be visible, but not obtrusive, as the students came in for the day. By looking like a homeless person, I can embody the some of the elements of how people might have responded to these particular Superheroes in the Bible.


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It’s important to know that I cautioned the students against going up to a homeless person and talking with them alone. While we should always assume that every homeless person we meet is mentally competent and socially aware, we must also be prepared to encounter people who are chemically dependent and/or mentally ill. I was thrilled that the students who saw me lying on the concrete responded not with talking to me directly, but instead let Dawn and Jamie know.

Jesus not only chose to spend time with people who might be a little scary to us, Jesus chose to build the Church with people like that.

Now, as fun as all this was, the highlight of the Easter chapel for me was all the student participation. I loved the liturgy being led by our Kindergarten to Second Graders, I loved hearing the Third to Fifth Graders singing Pie Jesu, I loved the Middle School play our gathering music, and I loved the High School participating in our closing song. This is such an incredible community, and I so enjoy being a part of it!

Happy Easter!

~ Matt McCoy – Chaplain

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