Despite my initial impulse to boycott the Super Bowl this year, I ended up watching it at a friends house.
Who wins the actual game doesn't matter all that much to most people. Although, I would say that this year (more than any other year I can remember) I found that almost everyone I knew was rooting for "[Not] The Patriots."
At any rate, most of us are more interested in the advertisements and the extravagance of the halftime show than the game itself.
Last year, the Super Bowl generated $420 million in ad revenue. That number is sure to go up this year. And millions of us tuned in to be sold on products and a lifestyle that most of us can't afford.
Did you know that basic goal of advertisers is to make us feel as though we are lacking whatever it is they are selling, and that our life won't be truly complete until we obtain it?
William Shakespeare writes plaintively about feeling lack, especially in contrast to those who seem to have what we don't. He bemoans his lack, and the yearning that comes from it:
"And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope..."It is only when the poet remembers his Beloved that all of his yearning and perceived lack falls away.
"For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth bringsAs I was reflecting on all of this today, I couldn't help but remember the words of Jesus from Matthew's Gospel:
that then I scorn to change my state with kinds." (Sonnet 29)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Our culture is constantly sending us signals on what we need to obtain in order to have a good life... a successful life... a fulfilled life. But none of those things will last. The only things that will last are the things we do and say that are grounded in Love, and filled with purpose and hope of God's grace.
May you recall the great love that God has for you, and let that love and the grace that flows from it fulfill all that you lack today and every day.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.