Is Easter Sunday REALLY the Super-Bowl?
Growing up in my faith tradition, it was common to hear Easter Sunday referred to as “The Super Bowl”. Since it is (was?) traditionally one of the most heavily attended Sundays of the year, there is always a tremendous amount of time and energy put into making an amazing Sunday experience—both for guests and for God.
We put together the best musicians we can find, we purchase thousands of dollars in Easter lillies, we polish the pews and the doors and we make extra room for people who will “check out faith” for perhaps the only time that year.
In short, we put our best foot forward.
Part of this effort is in recognition of the celebration of the resurrection: Easter really IS a special day in our faith, and we do our best to make our worship reflect the glory and joy of Jesus’ resurrection.
However, is calling it “The Super Bowl” really the best metaphor? I’m not sure.
(For starters, soccer is a much better metaphor for the spiritual life.)
The reason I’m rather uncomfortable with the Super Bowl image is that, well, it just puts too much of me in it. The Super Bowl depends on the players playing in it.
Christ’s resurrection does not.
Our best efforts on Easter are not so much to “make it happen” but to respond to something that has already happened.
Our Super Bowl really happened already. We are just basking in the victory now.
Furthermore, the Super Bowl metaphor (and yeah, I know: all metaphors break down eventually, but this is my rant, not yours) doesn’t really play out theologically: We play the Super Bowl; you (Who: guests? The Church?) watch us.
I wonder if a different image might be a Feast: We are inviting people to “our house” where a great celebration is going to happen. We didn’t even cook the meal, but it’s going to be a night of rich food and deep celebration. We want you to come, but the success of the feast doesn’t really depend on our greatness, or the 6 (8? 10? 15?) hours of rehearsal…
It depends on the presence of the One whom we are celebrating.
We are participants, with you—the guests, the Church… everyone.
We have come to the feast just like you. We are not separate.
So what if instead of “Playing the Super Bowl” this year, we “Went to the Feast” (and invited others to come as well)?