I didn’t do this. Last Sunday, despite the NFL playoffs, we went to church at the time we do every week. I didn’t rearrange my entire day of worship because of some silly football game. But then I didn’t have to, the Patriots game was at 3:30 central.
Despite living in Atlanta for the last six years, I grew up in Massachusetts. Though I root for the Falcons, the Patriots are the team I care about most. And since I wrote this post before the game was played on Sunday, allow me to react to what may have been the outcome:
1. The Patriots won, God is good!
Hard to believe they beat the Jets like that but after all the trash the Jets were talking, it makes sense. God hates football trash talk. That idea was discussed somewhere in the Old Testament when David and his ragtag posse played against the Philistines in a game of pickup football. (For some reason I think I remember Burt Reynolds played quarterback.) God is good!
2. The Patriots lost, God is good!
There’s more to life than football and once again, God reminded me of that. I regret that the Patriots lost, but would never trade the lesson in humility I received for something as hollow as a playoff victory. Plus, now instead of wasting time watching the Super Bowl, I’ll have more time to read my Bible. It’s just a game. God is good!
Regardless of the outcome of the game, I’ve got both of my bases covered. Best of all, I’ll be watching the game live, instead of Tivoing it while I’m at church. This happens sometimes though. Whether you’re a Tar Heel watching college basketball or a Brit watching Manchester United, church obligations take precedence over sports regardless of it’s a Sunday, Wednesday or any other day of the week.
If you have the ability to tape it and watch it later, you have to create a “Cone of Silence” to ensure you don’t learn the outcome before you watch the recording. Here are four things you need to remember:
1. Don’t talk to anyone in the lobby.
OK, you went to the 12:30 service. You just got out and you’ve got the Chicago Bears game taping at home. Do not talk with anyone in the lobby. Fellowship, schmellowship. Build community next Sunday. The chances of a friend accidentally giving you a first quarter score update are too high.
2. Start all your conversations on that Sunday with the right phrase.
What’s the right phrase to say if anyone even makes eye contact with you? “I haven’t seen the Chicago game yet!” That’s a weird thing to yell at a stranger during the meet and greet time of a 6:00PM church service, but sometimes you can’t watch the game right away. Throw out that disclaimer the moment you engage with anyone in conversation.
3. Beware the guy who reads the announcements.
The guy or girl who reads the announcements at church is always tempted to ad lib a little. Beware the casual, “We’ll be holding a kids’ event next weekend. Hopefully it will be better than that Patriots game. Jeez, that was ugly.” I’m not suggesting you put your fingers in your ears and repeat, “I don’t hear you, I don’t hear you” loudly to yourself while shaking back and forth in the pew, but would it kill you to leave and go to the bathroom during the announcements?
4. Don’t brag about it.
Your grandfather used to play for the Steelers? Your dad helped build the new stadium? You were named after Terry Bradshaw? You have a Steelers tattoo and yet you still decided to come to church and record the game out of love for the Lord? Well guess what? Like someone bragging about a fast, you just received your reward. The glory of man, not the glory of God. I hope you’re happy. Was it worth it?
I hope these tips prove helpful for the NFL playoffs and any other sporting event that bumps into a church obligation you have. Just remember, a Sunday Cone of Silence has about a 12 hour shelf life. If you tape the game and don’t get to watch it for a few days, all bets are off. Don’t be that friend who waited a week to watch the finale of Lost and then yelled at everyone else for talking about it.
What’s your favorite team? Who would you build a Cone of Silence for?