Saturday, February 2, 2019

How We Can Be of Service in Word and in Deed on Super Bowl Sunday

Ignatius of Loyola professed "love is shown more in deeds than in words." Francis of Assisi urged us to "preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary—use words." Messages like these are affirmed in secular circles, too. Ben Franklin stated "Well done is better than well said." He's not considered a Founding Father for nothing, right? Yes, I believe that "talk is cheap" BUT let's not throw the "baby out with the bathwater." Yes, our convictions must take action and they should not exist only in theory. But I also believe in the power of the pen. Words have meaning and I aim to use them wisely. As an author and a blogger, I write on a near daily basis. Thanks to words, I can share my ideas, support them and encourage others to do the same. And so it is with this "both/and approach" that I invite you to consider two such opportunities amidst Super Bowl LIII.
My Catholic faith is affirmed in the Word and in deeds. I wholeheartedly agree with James 2: 14-17 which states "Faith without works is dead." I am called to put faith into action, to help the poor and needy, to cloth the naked, to forgive, love and listen to the Lord. And yet, I need a passage of Scripture like this one. I need the Word of God, to lead me and guide me. As my former pastor would say: "Amen?" to which we would say "Amen!" AMEN.

So what does my "Amen" have to do with a game that will take place at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots? America's most-watched sporting event—with an expected 100 million people—is also an opportunity to include one's faith—in word and in deed.

The Word
A friend and colleague shared an article entitled Super Bowl 53: Four devout Christian Patriots and Rams players to watch Sunday. As I scrolled through the player profiles—two Rams and two Patriots, I was struck by how uniquely each man described his relationship with Christ. Some of their testimonials resonated with me; others were interesting to read.

I thought it might be fun to have students share if their faith statements resonate with their own views! To which my colleague said, "Often times the faith that players demonstrate, determines the level of support a fan may give them. I remember my mom loving the Arizona Cardinals during their Super Bowl run because of Kurt Warner's faith as well as that Larry Fitzgerald." His words make me think of how I will see those four players in a new light during the Super Bowl (and in the future!). 

I have been a Kurt Warner fan ever since I read what he told a reporter about being a devout Christian. He said "I cannot not talk about my faith. If you're going to interview me, please know what you will hear." Indeed those words took action!

If you're with football fans who have faith, share the good word about these athletes. Ask them, if they know about the faith life of any other athletes in the games.

In Deeds
As reported by USA Today, "An estimated 17.2 million adults employed in the U.S. are expected to miss work the day after the Super Bowl, according to a survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated." Furthermore, on this Sunday alone, Americans eat more food than any other day of the year—except Thanksgiving. Knowing how many people go hungry everyday, and thinking of those who were affected by the government shutdown, I started to question how things could be different. The disparity between the haves and have-nots prompted me to make the most of this unofficial National Holiday.

Idea #1 In my workplace, we sell Super Bowl squares for $10 a piece. There is absolutely no strategy involved, but it keeps folks in the game—as a winner is deemed at the end of each quarter! A portion of all the proceeds goes to our local food bank.
From "Faith and Football" presentations!
Idea #2: In 2014, I created an assignment in my Sports & Spirituality class entitled: Faith and Football. Students choose what team they want to learn more about and present on the history of the organization, the team's connection to their city and charitable organizations / outreach. They must also identify and share the faith life of four players, profile the coaches and great plays from the season. On the day of the presentation, students are required to bring in a can of food for our local food bank. 

We can all do some gestures to remember that too many Americans go hungry on a regular basis. Each one of us can lend a hand. Food Banks get plenty of donations around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Super Bowl Sunday is a full month after the holiday rush. Let's keep the donations flowing! And word hard on Monday ;-)

Taking a moment on a day like Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect place to start—in word and in deed.

Photo Credits
Ignatius Quote

1 comment:

  1. They were so accommodating and I was truly impressed. It is such a comfortable environment. For a buffet, it was delicious food. Alcoholic beverages were also great. Overall, these LA event venues are great, and my favorite venue in the city.