The Super Bowl is complicated for me. I love football and fun gatherings, but the celebration always comes with a feeling that the money and fame central to the day don’t quite mesh with any conception of biblical justice.
A few years ago, I discovered this prayer-poem by Scripture scholar Walter Brueggemann, included in his book Prayers for a Privileged People. I prayed it the morning of the game, and it helped me keep perspective during the evening. It has become an annual tradition since. I hope it resonates with you as it has with me.
Super Bowl Sunday
By Walter Brueggemann
From Prayers for a Privileged People
The world of fast money,
and loud talk,
and much hype is upon us.
We praise huge men whose names will linger only briefly.
We will eat and drink,
and gamble and laugh,
and cheer and hiss,
and marvel and then yawn.
We show up, most of us, for such a circus,
and such an indulgence.
Loud clashing bodies,
violence within rules,
and money and merchandise and music.
And you—today like every day—
you govern and watch and summon;
you are glad when there is joy in the earth,
But you notice our liturgies of disregard and
our litanies of selves made too big,
our fascination with machismo power,
and lust for bodies and for big bucks.
And around you gather today, as every day,
elsewhere uninvited, but noticed acutely by you,
those disabled and gone feeble,
those alone and failed,
those uninvited and shamed.
And you whose gift if more than “super,”
Overflowing, abundant, adequate, all sufficient.
The day of preoccupation with creature comforts writ large.
We pause to be mindful of our creatureliness,
our commonality with all that is small and vulnerable exposed,
your creatures called to obedience and praise.
Give us some distance from the noise,
some reserve about the loud success of the day,
that we may remember that our life consists
not in things we consume
but in neighbors we embrace.
Be our good neighbor that we may practice
your neighborly generosity all through our needy