The Super Bowl

From Rev. Jeremy Simons, Cathedral Chaplain
February 5, 2018

Few things in life compare to resounding victories in life’s biggest moments. For example, the feelings of our parents and grandparents at the conclusion of WWII are surely unparalleled by anything this generation has experienced. When a contest that threatens our lives ends in a dramatic and conclusive victory, the feeling is like nothing else in this world. The Writings describe it this way:

“After a state of trial has ended, the truth shines, and there arises serenity and gladness.” Heavenly Doctrine 197
“When people come out of a state of spiritual struggles they are like those who have been condemned to death but then freed from prison.” Arcana Coelestia 6144
“After every spiritual struggle there is consolation, and as it were newness of life.” Arcana Coelestia 8567
The intense joy of victory is in proportion to the intensity of the fear, pain and suffering that preceded it, “for a perception and insight into bliss and happiness come in no other way than from a contrast with their opposites.” Arcana Coelestia 6144

There is never a lack of cause for concern in the world, and the battle against negative forces that threaten what we value is never ending. The stresses and anxieties associated with these struggles are significant.
One aspect of these ongoing spiritual contests is that there are seldom clear-cut resolutions, much less victories, to celebrate. Athletic contests hold our attention partly because they simulate these struggles in a tangible, observable way, and because, unlike spiritual battles, they come to a clear resolution, a clear moment of victory.
Philadelphia has looked for this victory for a long time. Even though we know the outcome of contests like these have no more than psychological consequences for any of us, the joy is nevertheless real. It is real because, for those who care about them, these contests simulate the eternal struggle between good and evil, and their victories come with the same qualities of effort, trust, humility, teamwork, unselfishness, etc. that determine the outcomes of our own spiritual battles. This is why events like the Super Bowl and the upcoming Winter Olympics get so much attention. We come to love the participants, and to try to emulate their qualities.
So, thank you to Nick Foles, Doug Peterson, Carson Wentz and the whole team for the example that you set and the inspiration you have provided us. The Super Bowl is not a spiritual event, but it is hard to deny that, for those who care about it, it is a parable of our salvation.

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