Pentecost 35

Pentecost 35
My Psalm 35

A Winning Moment!

A teacher once told her children that they could use profanity, just as long as they wrote an essay about the word or words before using it. “You should know your vocabulary,” she stated. “Write about the word’s etymology or history, where it came from, and why it is considered to be profane.” Needless to say, her children waited until they had their own abodes before expanding their language skills to include cursing.

Eighteen years later, the same teacher, now retired, was watching a television movie with one of her children when a cell phone advertisement appeared. “That is so silly,” remarked the child. “Why?” queried the mother. “James Earl Jones has a voice like black velvet or maybe rich ebony silk. Malcolm McDowell could read the menu at McDonald’s and make it sound like Shakespeare. I loved it.” “Were you listening?” continued the child. “They were talking like teenagers!” The mother had to admit she really was too enthralled with the actors to even notice what company they were representing.

A few weeks passed and again the two were watching a program on television. Suddenly the same advertisement appeared and this time the mother paid strict attention. “Oh, how cute!” she exclaimed. “Rather like a modern-day Dr Seuss. Totes McGrotes!” The child disdainfully glared at the mother and then offered a piece of cake. “Thank you, dear,” said the mother. “This is …Totes McGrotes!” She reached for another bite when the plate was snatched out of her hand. “You may not use that type of vocabulary, young lady,” admonished the child, “until you have written an essay on what it means, where it came from, and then maybe you will understand why it is so silly!”

The circle of life is complete! With the curiosity that characterizes most teachers, the parent did indeed study the new wordings. She learned that Totes McGrotes meant “totally the best”, also spelled McGoats, having originated in a 2009 movie starring Paul Rudd. Totes Adorbs was someone who was totally adorable and Totes Presh was used to describe something totally precious. A gossip Internet columnist claimed “amazeballs” to be his own but actually fashion blogger Spiridakis used it several years earlier as an updated form of pig-Latin.

This weekend we will witness why parents are urged to know what their children are saying and to what music they are listening and singing. On Super Bowl Sunday weekend advertisers paid $133,333.333 per second to air promotions for their products. A thirty second spot for Super Bowl 2014 cost at least four million dollars. Such advertising costs prove that every second of airtime not only has value – $133,333.333 value – but can make an impact. After all, no one pays four million dollars to be ignored.
On any given Sunday approximately 450,000 sermons are given. They are not be promoting something to make your life easier or make you look better. They discuss living fuller, feeling better about yourself, the sacrifice of One who always thinks you are Totes McGrotes, regardless of what you do.

If costing the same as a Super Bowl ad, those sermons, based upon a twenty minute homily, would value $159,999,999.60. One man paid for the lessons in those sermons with his life. Because he thought we were Totes Presh. Without having to run a single yard, this one man scored the ultimate winning goal for each of us, thereby making us Totes Adorbs, and exchanging his life for ours. Amazeballs!

What if we listened to those 450,000 sermons as intently as we will those thirty-second advertisements? What if a person’s life of faith was as widely followed as the World Cup games? What if each church received an audience of the 164.1 million that watched Super Bowl XLVII in 2013? There are usually thirty minutes of advertisements during a regular Super Bowl. If we substituted those advertisements for a sermon and the churches got paid, each church would receive, based on the current pricing, $239,999,999.40. Of course, churches are not prepared for a total audience of 164.1 million but perhaps for an annual budget of almost $240 million, they could expand.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup advertising costs less and is primarily based upon the country and the viewers for the ads. Roughly it comes out to be one-third the cost of a Super Bowl commercial, although the audience is greatly enlarged. Still, with an increased audience and less revenue, I think they would be able to do a good job of spreading the gospel, even for a reduced budget of $80 million dollars.

The second largest church in the USA is a Baptist church in Houston, Texas. With twenty-four thousand members, they have an annual operating budget of fifty-four million dollars. That translates to each member giving two thousand, two hundred and fifty dollars annually. Sounds like a lot but it is actually only five percent of the average income for a Houston, TX family.

Sundays find Americans hesitantly venturing out, much like Punxsutawney Phil, to our respective houses of worship and give the lessons presented bored shrugs worthy of any “Valley Girl” whose language the cell phone commercial attempts to emulate. More eagerly, many will return home to catch the latest baseball game or perhaps the final match of the 2014 World Cup. Ten million Americans have watched the World Cup this year than usually watch major league baseball or professional basketball.

Tomorrow, our retired teacher will not begin embarrassing her adult children with her new-found vocabulary and American churches will not be millions of dollars richer. While a winner will be declared in the match between Germany and Argentina, little will be done to encourage the continued interest of the world on one subject – perhaps peace instead of sports? People will return home and to their daily habits and forget that, for a few moments in time, we could be united peacefully while on opposing teams.

Yet, what will remain priceless will be the super sacrifice and game-winning play of one man, Jesus Christ, who thought each of us was Totes Presh, totally precious now and forever more. With Him, by Him, and through Him, we get to win the biggest game of all – life. Amazeballs!

My Psalm 35

Help me, O God.
You know my battles.
You know the challenges.

Deliver me from my enemies.
Deliver me from the hurdles in life.
Deliver me from myself.

You were there when they mocked me, O Lord.
You heard their insults and lies.
You saw my pain and felt my tears.

Raise me up, O Great One.
Give me strength to forge ahead.
Strengthen my will and give meaning to my steps.

Your love is my guide, O God.
Your hands uphold me forever.
Your love surrounds me and heals.

I ask your protection, dear Father.
I live for your grace.
I receive your mercy and give thanks.

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