The day has finally arrived.
It’s the day that pastors, priests, & holy men and women of all faith traditions have long been dreading.
It was only a matter of time.
So what was the sum of all our fears? The four horsemen of the Apocalypse? No, much worse! Drum roll please…no, better yet…the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth…da, da, da, dah! Sunday Morning Football is upon us! Thank You, National Football League. (Sarcasm duly noted)
Yes, sports fans, the spiritual ENCROACHMENT of professional football into every nook & cranny of American culture is now complete! Those carpetbaggers with pigskins have invaded the sanctum sanctorum–the sanctuary of Sunday morning worship. Organized Religion beware!
When I first heard that the NFL would be broadcasting a game from Wembley Stadium in London at 9:30AM Eastern Daylight Time on SUNDAY MORNING, my heart sank. With my heart still sinking beneath the waves of despair & despondency, I decided to, as the Ray Stevens song says, Have A Little Talk With Myself. “Self,” I said to myself. ”Why art thou downcast, and why has thy countenance fallen?” (I always prefer talking to myself in King James English.) And then it hit me. ”Put your hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God!” My compliments to Psalm 43:5. Thanks, I needed that.
Here are SEVEN reasons why I am no longer worried or fretful about the NFL televising a game at 9:30AM on Sunday morning.
1. MULTIPLE TIMES, MULTIPLE VENUES, MULTIPLE SITES.
Thankfully, most healthy churches now offer multiple times to gather for Worship, Teaching, & Fellowship. We are no longer limited to the 11:00am worship time. So, go to your church on Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, or Sunday evening. A few churches even offer a Friday night edition.
2. ENLARGE YOUR BUILDING FOR FREE.
Most of the spiritual pretenders will simply use the NFL as the latest and greatest excuse to miss. The working definition of an excuse is “the skin of a reason, stuffed with a lie.” When someone says, “I didn’t want to miss the game.” What they really meant to say is, “I don’t really care about God that much.” I’m glad the pretenders will find another excuse to stay away. It will free up more seats for the folks that are hurting and looking for answers. It will make room for the folks that really are hungry to know God personally. Thank you, pretenders, for enlarging our facilities without us having to build bigger buildings.
3. THEY ARE NON-ATTENDERS FOR A REASON.
The people that matter most to God aren’t going to be at church anyway. Shocker Alert: People who don’t believe and people who are far from God don’t like to go to church. Let that simple fact sink in. They are NOT coming to us, no matter how groovy and high tech your worship service. The vast majority of folks who don’t believe aren’t coming to our places of worship–NO MATTER WHAT! Sunday morning football is just a pleasant reminder that it’s our job to go to them. Our calling is to follow the One who loved hanging out with people far from God.
4. STEAK IS BETTER THAN HAMBURGER.
The spiritually passionate will show up–no matter what! Paul Newman was once asked how he was able to stay faithful to his wife when surrounded by so many starlets in Hollywood. He famously answered, “Why would I go out for hamburger when I’ve got steak at home?” Classic. His answer reminds me of why the folks that are totally “sold out” to God will be at their duty station, this Sunday and every Sunday! Nothing can compare with the exhilarating joy of experiencing life with God.
5. TIME TRAVEL WITHOUT A FLUX CAPACITOR.
We live in a season of history when time travel is now possible. No, it’s not a DeLorean with its patented flux capacitor. Our time-travel is possible thanks to a little device known as a DVR. Yes, you can record the future (the game being played in London) while you’re at church.
Then, you can live in the past (replaying the game later in the afternoon). Actually, this is the best way to watch all sporting events. You can cut out the commercials and watch the event in half the time. And you can replay the part of the game when your team is actually winning.
6. SMART DEVICES, SMART PEOPLE.
The folks that are dually devout can always check the score, or heaven forbid, watch portions of the game on their smart device while at church. Don’t worry, the person next to you will think your looking up a scripture reference. Just don’t let out a cheer or else the people around you will assume that you are suddenly “filled with the Spirit” which per chance could spark a revival at your place of worship. Ray Stevens assures me that it happened once in Mississippi with a squirrel. Surely it could happen again with a Hail Mary pass into the end zone.
7. MEANINGLESS & MEDIOCRE.
Fortunately, the NFL’s first foray into Sunday morning football is a fairly meaningless game being played by two relatively mediocre teams. Sorry Detroit and Atlanta. Now if the Dallas Cowboys &/or Peyton Manning were playing on Sunday Morning, well, now that would be a horse and a PANIC of a completely different color. And worth a blog post of its own.
Until THAT day comes, TAKE COURAGE, BE NOT AFRAID…and as always,
LIVE THE RED!