It’s moderately amusing and, I suppose for folks among the religious set, thoroughly exasperating to continually address this question of whether God cares who wins the Super Bowl. Sure as sunshine, the annoyance resurfaces each time a Kurt Warner type takes to the winner’s platform and shouts a praise-induced “Thank you, Jesus!”
Something about that act of public gratitude sets off the skeptics. They wonder aloud: What interest would a God who commands the universe possibly have in an American sports event?
“Who’s he rooting for tonight?” they smugly inquire. “Is Jehovah an NFC kind of God, or is he more of an AFC deity?”
And it’s not just the non-believers.
“Stop giving glory to God after athletic events,” writes Mark Sandlin in a Time.com post this weekend. Get this: He’s an ordained Presbyterian minister. Not even the devout, it seems, can settle the matter among themselves.
I get it. In world filled with rampant hunger and destruction; where terrorist organizations behead hostages at will or gun down the innocent in their offices; where police kill unarmed men and crazed armed men ambush police, you’d think God might have more important priorities on His divine plate than whether Beast Mode takes out a few linebackers, then grabs his groin in the endzone.
It’s a good guess the size of Brady’s balls (take that however you wish) aren’t at the top of God’s Gantt Chart.
Even I doubt the Supreme Ruler cares much about whether the over/under is plus or minus one for either team; somehow I’m thinking a different spiritual entity rules over Vegas than Glendale. It’s doubtful that God cheered or booed, when the Patriots scored in the 2nd quarter or when Seattle tied the game.
Yes, you can make a pretty darn good case that if you were God, you probably wouldn’t care whether Seattle or New England hoists the Lombardi Trophy Super Bowl Sunday Night.
Thank goodness you’re NOT God.
And since I’m not Him either, I won’t proclaim with any expert certainty what is his SB XLIX disposition if He has one at all. I’m open to conceding He may not give the game a second thought, just as I’m willing to consider why the game could be as big a deal to Him as it is to you.
For starters, we sort of expect God to be interested in everything we do. Don’t we? Don’t we study hard for tests, but still float a little prayer for clarity during the actual test taking? If we expect God to be there for us during our little achievement test, why not the Super Bowl?
Then there’s the size of the stage. It gets no bigger.
The Super Bowl is a gargantuan platform that attracts upwards of 112 million viewers. As a spectator event, it’s a sort of Old Country Buffet that makes hungry advertisers salivate and swells their eyes fatter than their bellies. It’s the game’s out-sized marketing potential that has advertisers prying apart their wallets and scooping out $4.5 million a pop to place their commercials in the main event.
There’s a reason singers like Katy Perry want to be there on the halftime stage. It’s the Roar heard around the world. Football sells. And the NFL’s biggest game sells big.
Honestly, I’d be more than a little embarrassed by a God who’d allow Budweiser and a pop star to upstage Him because in the end, He undervalued the game’s impact.
I’m willing to think The Almighty gets it.
Maybe, just maybe, it really does matter to God whether Russell Wilson holds the trophy and says a few nice words about Him before moving on to thank Wilson’s offensive line. Maybe, He’s banking on Wilson being familiar with that passage in Colossians that advises the faithful “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Or, how about that spot in Thessalonians that urges us to “give thanks in all circumstances.” What if God’s planning for a victory shout out while a hundred million eyes are watching?
What if the reverse is true? What if Wilson loses? Could it be God thinks Russell might be a better ambassador as a losing quarterback?
Who knows; either scenario fits. Neither is less plausible. Both certainly are possible. Definitely, they are no less possible than supposing God is sitting by uninterested.
Absent a personal conversation with the Almighty about His SB XLIX pick, I can’t say for certain whether He’s wearing a green or blue jersey tonight, or just sitting around His heavenly great room in a tank top, watching DVR reruns of In Living Color, not giving the big game a second thought.
He and I haven’t discussed that. So, I’m not placing any limits on Him?
This much I can guarantee: None of the folks who stridently claim God’s an uninterested party have any more clue than anyone else does. Hell, half of them wouldn’t know how to reach God anyhow, that is if they think He’s reachable at all. So, why let them box God in?
Go Seahawks! — God willing.
-Jonathan Clarke, February 1, 2015
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