The NFL season ended yesterday with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the Super Bowl… that’s in case you a) don’t give a hoot about American football, b) just crawled out from under a rock, or c) were so distracted by everything else that surrounded the game that you forgot there were 22 guys on the field trying to get a small brown ball up and down a 100-yard field…
For those of you in that final category… you are not alone. Today, I have watched/listened to post-game coverage from traditional sports networks and mainstream news outlets, and while the sports outlets discussed Aaron Rodgers’ 300 yard-3 TD performance, and Rashard Mendenhall’s fumble, inevitably the conversation veers from the two teams to the musical blunders, the commercials, and celebrity sightings.
There has been as much discussion about Christina Aguilera and the words to the Star-Spangled Banner, the Black-Eyed Peas, the sometimes classless commercials which went for something like $2.5 million for a 30-second spot, and Alex Rodriguez needing Cameron Diaz to feed him his popcorn. Now, granted Christina Aguilera messed up badly, the commercials have devolved progressively over the last 2 decades, the halftime performance was auto-tuned to the point of not being music, and Alex Rodriguez continues to be the butt of the media’s jokes largely because of his own foibles… but is this what the game was all about?
I’m not the first to complain about this, and I won’t be the last. But I am still amazed at how the Super Bowl highlights our tendency to get distracted by periphery concerns to the point that we lose focus on what is supposed to be at the center of it all. It’s more about the spectacle than anything else.
This happens in a lot of areas of life though. In our families, we get so consumed with doing stuff and having stuff that we forget about building real relationships with our children and spouse. At work, sometimes we can get so caught up in the politics of keeping our jobs that we forget to do our jobs. And unfortunately, in most churches people get so distracted by the extraneous programs and traditions that we fail to be the church God has called us to be.
I’m amazed at how many Christians get so torked about what programs a church does or does not have on Sunday morning that we forget the reason we show up in the first place: to worship the Living God… a God who loves us and sacrificed for our sins. We lose sight of the fact that Jesus never called us to have most of the ministries we have in our churches – but he has called us to be salt and light to a world that needs it. He called us to reach out to the dying, the hurting and the lost. He called us to bear witness to him in our neighborhoods and communities.
My prayer is always that the Church will not fall into the same pit we do with the other things, and forget to focus on the work Christ has actually called us to… the consequences for us will be much worse than merely having television pundits gawk at our mistakes.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. – Revelation 2:4