This past Sunday we saw record after record be broken and set during Super Bowl 51 match-up between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. In one of the most dramatic endings in all of NFL football history, the New England Patriots engineered a come-back of 31 points in the 4th quarter to not only tie the game, but to win in overtime. It was truly an extraordinary 4th quarter. If you are an Atlanta fan, it was an awesome show of power in the first half.
One of the aspects that has gone quiet in all the interviews is that moment when we see an athlete kneel post the final second ticking off the clock. Their head held in their hands, kneeling and bowing is what we visibly see, but what might our Spiritual eye see? If they were mic’d up would we hear them saying ‘Thank you God for all that you do for me!’ Would we hear a declaration of dedication to a loved one passed on ‘I did this for you [__________]. i know you uplifted me and carried me through!’ Whatever it is, it is between that athlete and their Spiritual core.
Spirituality is not a horizontal relationship alone, but a vertical relationship as well. We cannot be so ‘Into God and being Faithful’ that we have no room for seeing the leper, sinner, friend in recovery, person in traffic driving us bonkers, parent who still may hit that nerve, to bring us closer to God-Spirit-Christ that we commune for an instant, or more, in Peace. And it may be good for us to pause and see that we cannot be so into the horizontal experience of a faith community that we forget to sit with the still small voice as much as we can. To listen for guidance, and give gratitude for all the good things we have done and received through our Faith.
So maybe in that moment of victory, when 2 or more massive ginormous men are leaning in on one another and sharing “We did it!” while trying to hold back tears, there in that space, is God. “Where 2 or more are gathered in my name, there i will be.’ Matt 18:20. And for those athletes who know that in their heart, they only achieve what they achieve by right-mind, right-action, and right-Spirit living, we may hear them say “We did it, and I did it only through Christ’s strength in me”. And we often hear something like that reflected in the post game interview, and it sounds like “Something came over me, and I just knew we were going to win. I just couldn’t be stopped.” Call it being inspired (gr – to have the breath of God within), and we all have had those breath of God within us moments.
The Patriots may say it was the difference that their team pastor has made in thier lives and actions. That without team chaplain Jack Easterby they may have been relying on their natural, amazing talents to go out and win the Super Bowl. And when they were down 21 points in the 4th quarter, I think that is a pretty good time for a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment, and maybe just enough of them had one of those CTJ moments, personally or as a small huddle outside of the eye of the camera, and the rest as they say is history.
America’s Decor Store Faith division is about bringing more Hope and GOoDness into the world. And on Sunday, we may have seen what divine intervention looks like on the athletic field. And granted it may all just be speculation, but what if? What if Tom Brady’s righteous living had him play with all of it in God’s hands? What if that is the declaration he may have prayed “Dear Lord, You said I can do All Things through you . . .’ Or if another player who hadn’t scored all season long said, ‘Dear Heavenly Father, Spirit within me, give me the strength that when called upon, I honor you with my life and my best actions.’ We may never know. But what we do know is we saw what inspired lives look like when they come together. We saw All-American goodness and humility accept a trophy, and then walk off the stage with family arm and arm. And that may be the best example of what (vertical) Faith looks like.
ADS knows ‘You can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives us strength’. . . so go SHINE bright today. #ShareYourLight