Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Super Bowl Storylines

So many great storylines came out of the Super Bowl last Sunday. I could talk about Peyton Manning putting to rest all the talk about not being able to win the big game; or I could analyze how Defensive Coordinator Wade Philips built a smothering Bronco defense around Von Miller; or I could bemoan Cam Newton's staccato postgame press conference. Each offers an insight to our struggles through this life, spiritual maturity, and what it takes to live together as the body of Christ in the world.

But the thing that most jumped out at me was the predictions before the game. Experts carefully lined up the Panthers and the Broncos. The two great defenses cancelled each other out, and when you paired the two offenses, Cam Newton's was much stronger than Peyton Manning's.

Or so it seemed.

All through the previous two weeks I expected the predictions were probably right, but had a nagging feeling in my mind because of the AFC Championship Game. How can you underestimate a defensive game plan that left Tom Brady confused, and Bill Belichick unable to make those incredible second-half adjustments, especially when the Denver offense really wasn't putting any pressure on them? As I listened to the game coverage driving back from Chicago Sunday night, I heard Boomer Esiason and Dan Fouts comment on how similar this game was to the AFC Championship Game.

To me that will be the most fascinating part of Super Bowl 50: the Broncos' defensive game plan. That defense seemed to enjoy playing the part of the underdog. When everyone else dismissed them and ranted about the league MVP and the unstoppable Panther's offense, it seemed to motivate Colorado's defense to prove everyone wrong.

That makes me think about the body of Christ. That Bronco defense didn't just come together last week and prepare for the Super Bowl. It was pulled together by a front office that drafted players from college, and brought others in through trades and free agency. It was assembled to be a team. Just as Christ has called each of us together in our congregations and assembled us to share His precious Word in the most effective way to the community, in which He has placed us. It's our Christian family -- our faith community -- that is our greatest strength.

Wouldn't it be great if we had a little more of Denver's fire, spunk and can-do attitude? When our culture belittles and attacks us, why don't we stop circling the wagons and muttering apologetically? I'd like to see us emerge from our foxholes, pull together, and hold high the cross.

We have God's flawless game plan, and a victory Jesus already won 2,000 years ago on a hill outside of Jerusalem. We have God's matchless gifts in the Bible, Baptism, and Holy Communion to strengthen and assure us of the glorious, eternal celebration that awaits, when Christ returns and restores His creation to perfection.

No, we're not trying to move a ball down a field, or keep it out of our end zone; rather, we're trying to save our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and everyone God brings into our path from Satan's vile trap. That is a much higher calling, and the crown of life surely trumps the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

With the Broncos' win, another NFL season bites the dust. There are many life lessons to be learned from football, and dogged determination is one of them. How often do we ask God for that kind of resolve in our faith walk? What kind of victories would we like to see take place in our lives, the lives of our friends and family, the life of the church on earth?

Any thoughts on the game just finished -- or the game of life we're all in at present? If so, you can comment by clicking here.