In the morning, we celebrated communion, drinking grape juice and eating crackers in remembrance of Jesus’ blood and body. We “celebrate,” but in the older sense of the word. It’s a time of solemnity where we recall our sin and seek the forgiveness of the One whose death was caused by our sin.
We also celebrate in the more modern sense, because that forgiveness was granted freely, with love, the proof being Jesus’ empty tomb and resurrection from the dead.
In the afternoon, we celebrated American football and some talented men, celebrating in the modern sense of the word. Like a swarm of remoras hanging from a great white shark, every excess of American culture has found a way to suck some nourishment from a simple contest to see which team is better.
I’ve been a Colts fan since my childhood, as I wrote here. The Colts had a great season, played a great game in bad weather, kept their cool and came out on top. Coach Tony Dungy and quarterback Peyton Manning both exemplify the very best of American professional sports. They played clean and fair; they won with talent and lots of hard work.
But all the bling left a foul taste in my mouth at the end. The multi-million dollar commercials, the multi-million dollar acts, the multi-million dollar salaries and pay outs, the diamond-encrusted gold rings, the Official Superbowl XLI memorabilia, the thousand-dollar ticket prices, the Hollywood stars, the pseudo-epic stories of human struggle — the Superbowl goes way, way over the top every year, even by our American standards of excess and ostentation.
American professional sports long ago lost its purity, and it’s a terrible shame. There are a lot of fine people involved in pro football. They have talent, heart, they love the game, but the culture of the game has been stained by sin, primarily by greed.
On a Sunday when we celebrated a man whose death freed us from the chains of our sin, my thoughts about greatness shifted from the TV screen to a wooden cross.
Remember that former Chargers player Drew Gissinger? I think I saw him at the bowl. Look where he’s playing now.