“America stops on Super Sunday,” proclaims the television promotion.
Sometimes, even churches stop on the Sunday of the Super Bowl. In a little more than three decades, it has become one of our most popular cultural holidays.
Super Sunday is a head-to-head matchup of a secular and a sacred religion. And many of us like to play on both fields.
Churches go different directions with the challenge. Some work their services around the Super Bowl, avoiding a direct conflict between the secular and the sacred. Others cancel services that are in direct conflict with the game, surrendering to the reality of the culture. Promotional and outreach events are scheduled by other churches, trying to connect with people through their football passion.
Unfortunately, churches may have allowed advertising executives to take a hyped event on a Sunday and run with it. Now, Super Sunday is known as much for the introduction of new and innovative commercials and product lines as for a football game. Perhaps churches should use that same opportunity–when America is paying attention–to introduce new programs and new methods to reach their people.
In a modern setting, when Jesus spotted Zacchaeus in the tree, he may have said, “Hey, Zacchaeus, I’m coming to your house to watch the Super Bowl this afternoon.”
As unsettling as it is to some Christians, Jesus spent much of his time among sinners. He related to them on their terms, at their festivals and at their parties.
In that context, he may have viewed the Super Bowl as an example of some people searching for temporary fulfillment by watching, in hopes of finding someone who won’t fumble in key situations.
So, would Jesus be likely to show up at someone’s Super Bowl party?
I think so. He might even bring the cheese dip.
David McCollum is sports columnist for the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, Ark., and a member of Second Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.