STRANGERS at the Super Bowl?
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:11-12).
Today’s something of a national holiday in our culture. Super Bowl LIII will be played this evening as 100 million Americans tune in around the country. Many of these, of course, are Christians. In fact, several groups from Oliver Creek will be watching together. At the same time, we’re in a preaching series through the letter of 1 Peter at OC called Strangers. Peter argues that we are “strangers in the world.” We’re different, distinct, and maybe a bit weird to the watching world. So when Christians gather to watch the big game, there’s bound to be some strange things. How should Strangers watch the Super Bowl?
If you’re watching the big game with a group from church, it’s going to be a formative experience one way or another. These prompts are designed to move us to Christian transformation.
Commercials: In every football game there’s about 11 minutes of actual game play. What’s the rest of the four hours filled with? Commercials. Advertisers will spend millions of dollars for short 30-second spots to sell you on something. But what are they selling? Rarely is it simply a product. Here are some questions to ask.
What hopes and dreams are the commercials tapping into? What cravings and desires?
What do they sell to you as the greatest value?
How do they compare to the way of Jesus Christ? Are there themes in the ads that play off or distort the gospel story?
The Broadcast: If you watch you’ll also notice numerous rituals and performances. You'll hear the liturgy of familiar songs. You’ll see the crowd gathered to celebrate together with their people. By the end, you’ll hear their emotional cries of joy and loss. It’s amazing how religious this scene really is.
How does this scene remind you of a worship experience? What role do the players, halftime performers, broadcasters, and crowd play in the service?
What Christian values do you see celebrated in the broadcast? Are there glimpses of Jesus?
What anti-Christian values do you see celebrated? Are there distortions of the gospel?
Behind the Scenes: In the background of the game are real people who are really invested in the game. They’ve spent their money to get in, many gambled money more still. They care about the sport and the teams. This night may be one of the most memorable moments in their entire life.
What kind of brokenness would you expect to see among the people there?
What longings might they have that the gospel answers better than football?
If you could tell one thing about the church to people so invested in a football game, what would it be?