Broncos, Seahawks, and the PRESENTATION

For non-sports fans, this is the SUPER BORE weekend.  For most, it is the BIG GAME, the Super Bowl.  Some will tune in to see how [and wonder why] an outdoor site fares in the midst of this bizarre winter season.  Some will spend some time checking on how Peyton Manning duels with Russell Wilson.  Some will want to see Richard Sherman humbled.  A good number of people will be tuned in to see what commercials sizzle and which ones fizzle.  AND, SOME will watch the game from start to ending.

There are a few who will turn to TOUCHDOWN JESUS  believing/hoping that God will listen to their prayers, make the running backs run faster, the quarterbacks throw straighter, the receivers more sure-handed — and just maybe, God  may even determine the outcome of the game.

And here we are … taking some time to think primarily religiously and spiritually … and only secondarily in the world of sports.  Right???

In a rare occurrence, the FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION falls on a Sunday and the celebration of the Presentation replaces the prayers and texts of Ordinary Time.  Remember the history:  7 days after the birth of a child, a woman waited to be “purified”; then some 33 days later, parents brought the child to the temple, to be offered back to God, dedicated to God.

This second “epiphany” occurred without fanfare — no tv coverage and no “big event” buildup.  There were no commercials.

Our Christian Feast corresponds with the pagan celebration of the greater light — candles — or their sense that more and more light was shining and their hope that winter would soon be passing.  This hope for an early end to winter seemed to creep into our Christian celebration of the feast, too.  In searching the Internet, I was able to find this hymn/poem/saying:

If Candlemas day be sunny and bright, Winter again will show its might.      If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, winter soon will pass away.

Most all of us have had a tougher than usual winter === so, I am sure, if this saying bears truth === we hope that Sunday will be cloudy and gray.

I see at least FOUR MESSAGES that can come to us from this Feast and the Scripture of the weekend.  First — in Jesus, an AGE OF HOPE came to an Age [or the aged] of Faith.  To Simeon and to Anna — the light shone bright, who/what they had hoped for — was now clearly seen.  We are called to renew our hope in what we long for.  We may not be as fortunate as Anna and Simeon to see “it with our literal eyes. but with a persevering faith, we will see it.   [Dr. Martin Luther King and so many others did not see what they hoped for with their physical eyes … but somehow saw it in their faith and hope.]  In hoping for justice or a reformed Church — we will see it.  Parents who want more for their children — hope-fully — will see it.

In their faith, came their fulfillment — their completeness.  In longing for Jesus, they were made whole.

While we may have our favorite team … Seattle or Denver — but regardless of who wins — our life will not be changed that much or for very long.  In Jesus and in faith, comes our fulfillment.  {Now on the other hand, when the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010 — there was gratification for a long time — but some disappointments since!}

Secondly,   with our own presentation in the Temple — Baptism — we were challenged to be light to the world.  At baptism, we were told to “keep the light of faith burning brightly” and, to be hope in times of darkness, courage in times of fear.  And, so we ask:  am I a light to my family?  at work?  in the marketplace?  is my Church community/parish, a light to the neighborhood?  to the town?

Thirdly — in just a few minutes, we will participate in an “Offertory procession” — we will present ourselves and our gift to the Lord.  We will kneel before God in worship.  What kind of “gift” are we presenting?  Have we been on our “game” this past week?  or, have we been a little off?  No doubt, following the Super Bowl, some players will be noted for great performances — others for lacking.  As we begin worship, we reflect on our sins, our failures — where we have fallen short.  So again, at the Offertory — who/what are we offering to the Lord — a “Most Valuable Player” performance — or something less than stellar?

And finally [fourthly], are we ready to see Jesus in unassuming places?  Is our spirit enlightened to look to see Jesus as he comes — and not only where we expect him to be?  Do we see him “presented” to us in the people we randomly encounter during the day?

Let us pray ….

O Thou Great Chief — light a candle in my heart — that I may see therein and sweep the rubbish from thy dwelling place.  [African School Girl’s Prayer]

hjm

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