Sunday Sermon

Superbowl Sunday!

The day on which our country celebrates teamwork, strength, agility, and athleticism by becoming completely inert in our recliners for about four hours. We also recognize the player's physical sacrifices - the years of chalky protein shakes and lumpy power bars - by enjoying chips, nachos, and beer. And those little barbeque sausages with the cheese inside them; I used to love those...

Setting aside the irony of the fattest nation on the planet coming together to watch the lean and healthy minority crush one another, it is interesting to think about the estimated one billion people worldwide who are simultaneously staring at the spectacle.

In the pre-game show Stevie Wonder appeared with several other MoTown performers. Toward the end of their last song he spoke about how we should all work toward peace. I wish I could quote him directly, but the line that stuck with me was "It's not about the religion, it's about the relationship... come together before we are annihilated."

It could be that he meant that your relationship with another person is more important than the religion of either one of you... or he could have meant that your relationship with the Divine is more important than the religion in which you experience it. Either way, he has a point.

The Superbowl seems miraculous because at this moment, a billion humans are sharing a moment. We have a tenuous relationship, a shared experience with all of those in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and anywhere else they can get a satellite signal, and this seems like a modern marvel to us. In a similar way, the relationship that some people appear to have with the Divine seems miraculous to us as well. To have a relationship with the root of all this seems too good to be true.

I'd like to suggest to you that neither is really remarkable. We have always had a connection with all other living beings, and it is not technology that allows us to experience it. So many spiritual teachers have said it over the centuries - we are all one, and we need only strenuously seek that union to see it clearly. From the Divine root of all existence down to the littlest protozoan, we are all of one essence.

In football, each player knows himself to be a part of a team. Some guys might even realize that they are connected to the other team as well, and together they are part of "the game." Most of us know that we are a part of something as well, but we don't see it all. What are you a part of? The population of your school, city, state? Maybe a part of the US? Possibly you are a pinko hippy like me and you try to see yourself as a citizen of the world, but even that is not enough. We must awake to ourselves as part of existence, as existence itself.

Seeing this makes all divisions fall away - the labels that cling to me like male, white, Saints fan (as sad as that is - we finished dead last in the NFC with a 3-13 record for the season. At least we get a good draft pick...), Liberal, Buddhist, Anti-war, American, and any other boxes you can stow me in become irrelevant. I am integral to everything, as are you and the chair you are sitting on as you read this. All of it is you, and you are all of it. Without you it isn't.

OK. That was very much like something I channelled from Seth, or maybe Yoda - perhaps the big game has gone to my head a bit too much. Enjoy it, and cheer for your team. Or try cheering for all of us...

Go in Peace.


Nerdygirl said...

Good Sermon Rev. Being in one of the two cities competing was very strange--suddenly this city-wide animosity arose that really had no reason to be there. I know that in the days to come Seattle will have no real grudge against Pittsburg, which makes me wonder if creating this false grudge is really worth any of it.

lou said...

Hi, you don't know me. I came here through Nerdy's blog, but she doesn't know me either (long, long pixel trial) so I should introduce myself; I'm Louise, hi.

Anyway, I thought I'd post cos I was moved to do some Superbowl research this week and have concluded that the "one billion viewers" legend is an out-and-out lie.

For a start, here in the UK it was billed as "450 million viewers worldwide", so we've already got some contention creeping in. Second, not one person I know in England (which is a fair few) watched it, prolly cos it aired live at like 4am or something.

I also have friends in Baghdad, Palestine and Jordan. People in Jordan actually did watch it, but the people in Baghdad only have electricity for two hours a day and the people in Palestine don't have electricity at all at the moment, so none of them caught the game.

My friends in Amsterdam said, "Superbowl? That's like baseball right?" but my friend in Barcelona stayed up all night to see it live. And where was he born? Upstate NY.

So yeah, I reckon the idea that any one but Americans watches American football is all a big lie, unless everyone in India tunes in, which is possible.

Sorry to sound so crabby, people gave me free Champagne last night and now I'm trying to work with a headache.

lou xx

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