Last night was the second Super Bowl I had ever watched in a church. Watching the biggest spectacle in sports - at least in the USA - in a church is an interesting experience. We had food - and anyone who knows Baptists knows we're not going to skimp on the food! We had plenty to drink (no, Baptists don't drink alcohol in church; we don't even drink wine for the Lord's Supper) and a halftime show that sounds like it beat the real thing by a mile.
Yesterday was a super winter's day in NW Florida - mid-50's, sunny, light to no wind. Many of us arrived early at the student center with our covered dishes, snacks and drinks. After depositing mine on the two tables in the back, I grabbed some kids and went out to the parking lot to play some football - you know, the kind you play with your feet. Didn't everyone?
Kickoff: (including pre-game, pre-kick, pre-coin toss, pre-coin toss call, pre-commercial, post-commercial, some more commercial and, hey! What are those 22 guys in uniform doing on the field?
Oh, and I can't forget the strangling of the cat; otherwise known as Christina Aguilera attempting to sing the National Anthem. And look, I know how hard it is to get in front of a room full of people to speak or perform. I can't imagine the pucker factor of trying to sing a song in front of a live audience of one hundred thousand people and untold millions around the world. Look at it this way:
In the first half, Jordy Nelson, a young Packer wideout dropped what would've been a long gainer. I listened to several fellow Baptists bemoan what they perceived as an automatic catch. Yes, the ball did go right between Mr. Nelson's hands but in all fairness he was laid out and fignting off the challenge of a Steeler's defender. Still, that's what he gets paid for right?
Aguilera is a world-renowned singer. A performer on top of her game. Shouldn't we be able to bemoan the lyrical jumbling she brought to our nation's theme song? In fact, I wonder if this is an indictment of our school system - notwithstanding the fact that a young Christina may not have even gone to school in the United States - I mean, I could probably sing the National Anthem from memory (at least the first verse).
But that's right, they don't do that sort of thing in our schools any more.
Seriously, what a relief to finally get the game underway.
The Packers owned the Steelers in the first half, well, right up until the end anyway. I was distracted by all those pesky kids wanting to play more football outside. Don't they realize when the game finally starts the grown-ups want to eat too much and yell at the big screen?
Pastor Brian - our awesome pastor at Ferris Hill Baptist Church - gave a great devotional that used football's yellow and red flags as object illustrations. The yellow flag is used in football by the officials to denote a foul - something that someone has done wrong. In life, this is the conviction we feel when we have stepped outside of God's rules. The red flag is used by coaches to challenge the call on the field - an attempt to overturn that call and change the outcome of the play. In life, there is only one way to change our eternal outcome, and that is to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
If we don't make that decision, sincerely and heartfully before our demise, there is no changing the outcome of where we will spend eternity. No one will be able to throw the red challenge flag for us.
Sigh. I admit, I'm a sucker for the kids. They wanted to play some more, so outside we went into the semi-dark parking lot and - away from all the cars - we played some more football (soccer, for those of you who didn't get my earlier reference). I was able to make it back into the student center for the last quarter and enjoyed some final munchies, a nice cup of coffee and a Green Bay Packer victory.
Honestly, I didn't really care who won but I decided to pull for the Packers for a couple of reasons. One was Ben Rothlisburger. I saw him pointing at the sky when he threw a touchdown. I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, but his past behavior still weighs heavy on the scale of public opinion. Second, The Packers hadn't won this thing in a while and I just thought it might be nice to see the cheeseheads from Title Town take home another one.
Vince Lombardi said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Well, if you want to win in the game of life, there is only one way. Jesus said it best in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
What do you think?