God Knows, God Understands, God Changes Everything… Reflections on Super Bowl 47

by DanWolgemuth on February 8, 2013

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

Over 100 million people tuned into the football game between San Francisco and Baltimore last Sunday.  I joined the throng.

I have enjoyed this game over the years without any deep loyalties or bias (the clear exception was 1985 when the Chicago Bears played).  But over the years there has been a growing discomfort with the incredible spectacle that the event, the personalities and the promotion have become.

The massive audience has created an advertising showcase that seems to have raised the curtain on discretion and propriety.  There is a crassness to the event that makes it difficult to sit through, especially with kids and grandkids and guests.

But then there is another obvious challenge to my biblical commitment.  Stardom.  Celebrity.  Overt self-indulgence and self-promotion have become the yeast that influences every aspect of the grand event.

I won’t venture into the space of wondering what Jesus would think about the event, but I will say this… He would have valued a conversation with a teenager in the parking lot that was collecting garbage after the tailgate parties.  I’m convinced that He would have noticed a toothless beggar that was panhandling near the main entrance.  He might even have exchanged a few important words with him.  Jesus would have looked through the veneer and glitz into the souls of men and women in every section of the Super Dome.

I’m pretty sure that He would have been repulsed by anything that felt like exploitation.  He may well have made His way into some of the roughest parts of New Orleans, not out of curiosity, but to prove that light conquers darkness.  To redeem.  To rescue.

He might even have scooped a young child into His arms and pronounced an irrevocable blessing over this young soul while the PA announcer was proclaiming Joe Flacco as the winner of this year’s MVP.

God understands our preoccupation with stars and stardom.  He knows that we tend to make golden calves out of wide receivers and quarterbacks.  He’s familiar with our predisposition to fawn over fallen and created beings.  He’s seen it before… starting in the Garden.

This year I welcomed the chafing in my soul.  It’s teaching me something… and not just about Ray Lewis, or Beyonce, or Colin Kaepernick, or retired football greats that fill the airwaves with commentary… but about me.

If God is serious that the first will be last; if Jesus was thinking straight when He held a child in His arms and pronounced them valuable; if the words that Jesus uttered about the final judgment were not misunderstood or misprinted, then I have something really important to keep learning.

It is those who care for the least of these that Jesus elevates – and not after His autograph book is full – but at the top of His list – His final list.

Super Bowl 47 was an important classroom for me – not in judgment, but in sober assessment.  God help us if our preoccupation with stardom does anything to dwarf what Jesus values most.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

disappointed in IA February 12, 2013 at 6:26 PM

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl and couldn’t care less. Why do so many professing Christians get so worked up over overpaid pro sports players when all they’re doing is breaking the 4th commandment? Remember Eric Liddell in “Chariots of Fire?” Want to enrich your life–read a good book and chuck TV junk.


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