What was so “Super” about this Sunday?
Besides the satisfaction I get from being a WAHA leader alongside of some amazing guys, I have the privilege of being a Pastor. Yesterday was Superbowl Sunday and having grown up in Cape Cod, MA I am a Patriots fan. It’s always special when your hometown team is in the big game. I don’t usually go into great detail about these sorts of things, but wanted to share what God showed me yesterday. At the end of the game yesterday I got a “congrats!” text from a good friend. I responded with thanks, but what would appear to be a pious tag – “it’s all filthy rags, but thanks”.
You see I had begun my after church day with a great celebration with family for my grand daughter’s 5th birthday. My wife and I got there a bit earlier than most and my grand daughter’s dad was still at work at the “Nike Experience” in downtown Phoenix and would be home soon. As we waited for others to arrive my grand daughter’s little Veggie Tales Bible was on the coffee table and she asked me to read her one of the stories out of it. She flipped to the ‘Rack, ‘Shack and Benny story where they were about to be thrown in the furnace if they didn’t “worship the bunny”. It was cute and fun doing different voices. It was a great kid’s version of the bible story and I loved how simple God’s Word could be understood by a child just turning five. It was a cool moment.
More people arrived and game time got closer. We managed as a family to stay focused on the birthday, her gifts and doing food together. The TV got flipped on as the birthday TO-DOs got checked off. There was then some frustration that the channel would not come in and we just caught the national anthem and jets flying over – always a stirring moment. So with the game underway and the jockeying for seats, I joined and enjoyed watching most of the first half. I began reflecting on the feverish effort to get reception and was reminded about “worshiping the bunny”. My desire to keep watching the game “grew strangely dim”, so, I headed off to play trucks with my grandson. It was about half way through the third quarter when I got a call from a family whose mom/grandma had just been admitted to hospice and it was time to take her off life support. She was deteriorating fast. So I told my 2 year old grandson I had to go to see someone in the hospital to pray with them. He didn’t respond like a 2 year old. It was sweet. So I headed off to hospice.
In a 12 x 12 room a dozen or so adults and kids filed in and out knowing what was next, but not knowing how to navigate their emotions, whether to sit or stand, stay in the room or go. The hospice nurse explained to me what the procedure was to take her off life support and the unknowns of how her body would respond. He asked if I could gather the family to talk through that, pray and help them decide who would be in the room and who wouldn’t. Getting them together was a task, lip smacking about God’s love and wise control was easy and energizing, but helping them through the quarrels (some heated) of who would be in the room was very hard. God’s grace was amazing as usual and that “peace that surpasses all understanding” came over them all. The hospice people gently disconnected the machines and removed tubes and the piercing BEEP of the machines as they turned off sounded. She was breathing on her own, but was obviously working hard for every breath. Recalling the “jockey for seats” in front of the TV, I watched as her family all jockeyed for a moment to hold mom/grandma’s hand, touch her and lean in for a kiss on her cheek or forehead. The peace grew and slowly all decided to leave her to breath as best she could until the Lord called her home.
So I made my way out to the parking lot and learned of the Patriot’s victory and it was then I got the “congrats!” text. My “filthy rags” reply came from my in-the-moment perspective, but my friend’s message did bring a smile, a little about the score, but more knowing I have a brother like him in my life. I came home and found that my wife had recorded the game, so I rewound and was able to catch all the plays I had missed and FF through the commercials. God showed me many contrasts throughout the day about what was temporal and what was eternal. The most profound was the dots that were connected after I watched the rest of the game. Along with many millions of others, I watched as 1000’s celebrated in the stadium under the rain of confetti and Kurt Warner escorting the trophy through the crowd to the podium. Dozens of men leaned in for a touch and even kissed the trophy. The contrasting image of that family reaching in, leaning in, touching and kissing mom/grandma for the last time was crystal clear. Those kinds of visits are not at the top of my “want to” list, but I would not change one minute of the day. I am so thankful of glimpses of God’s eternal perspective and the up front seat views of His amazing grace. I am sure the Seattle fans were grieving, but it doesn’t compare. God’s word says death is end of every person and we ought to consider it often. This lady’s death was a bit sudden, but in Christ our hope is eternal – Jesus is our imperishable trophy. That’s what is “Super” about every day.
God, teach us to number our days and to make everyone of them count in eternal ways. Help us to enjoy and value those in our lives you have given us and to share and enjoy moments that will last – outdoors and indoors – giving glory to you. Grant us the grace to know your Son Jesus Christ and have confidence that He has overwhelmed the grave, so that we need not fear death. But also to know that our Savior is not out of touch with the struggles and temptations we have in this world. Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.