In the World—February 10, 2019

By February 5, 2019 "In the World"

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A NOT-SO-SUPER BOWL

The Super Bowl elicits an almost religious devotion season after season. Advertisers willingly pay an average $5.25 million for a 30-second commercial to reach rabid football fans. A lot of superlatives are used to describe the game: the bestteams in football, the most talentedplayers in the game, the funniestTV commercials, etc. Nevertheless, the most common superlative given to last Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII was “one of the most boringin Super Bowl history.” At the end of the third quarter, the score was still only 3-to-3. Post-game TV ratings were at a 10-year low for the game.

SEARCHING FOR SUPERLATIVES

When the Psalmist describes the Lord in today’s text, he searches for appropriate superlatives. Unable to find one that effectively expresses God’s greatness, the Psalmist uses the superb character of the city of Jerusalem as a means of declaring God’s glory. Jerusalem is more “super” than any other shrine or location because it is the physical place where God makes himself present to the people of Israel. Thus, the metaphor expresses the superlative nature of Israel’s God.

  1. What, if anything, does the cost of a Super Bowl commercial suggest to you regarding our culture’s values? In what way is a sporting event a way of describing what our culture values?
  2. What contemporary image would you use to describe the glory of God? Explain. Does God have a “holy mountain” today? Explain your answer.
  3. What dangers do you see, if any, in thinking of a specific place (such as a church building or shrine) as the place where God dwells?

—Charles R. Boatman

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Jim Eichenberger

Author Jim Eichenberger

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