Like many (some?) of you I watched the Super (not!) Bowl on Sunday, with all of the ads and half-time show. The ads and half-time were better than the game, although it is great to have special teams get the kind of credit they did. Bruno Mars put on a great performance, the best parts his drumming, the James Brown foot work and the gold coats. Maybe our faith would grow if ministers wore jackets like that instead of black robes. I am not much of a football fan, and while I loved playing it, I don’t find it very interesting to watch.
I do, however, love watching the Olympics, and especially the Winter Olympics. Speed skating, all the skiing events, especially the Nordic events, luge and bobsled and now the astonishing snowboard and trick skiing – not to mention hockey. My favorite is the Biathalon – skiing and shooting, even though I have never shot a gun. I just wish those events were covered more than all of the figure skating – as beautiful as that can be. There seem to be a lot more thrills in the Winter Olympics than in the Summer Olympics. No race in Summer gets to the speed downhill skiers get to or no event has so much airborne time as ski jumpers or the speed of bobsled or luge. The athletes seem a little crazier.
Then there is curling.
It all brings home that we are bodies first and foremost. Without our bodies we are not, and the joy that can come from our bodies is simply remarkable. Whether athletic or not, abled or differently abled, our bodies are sources of wonder. A taste on our tongue, a scent in our nose, sound in our ears, the feel of skin under our fingers – the joy of touch and taste and hearing and seeing – why it is enough to make us weep with joy.
Or how pain keys us into something being wrong or the churning in our stomach at anxiety, the heaviness that comes with depression – all indications that we are bodies. Even at church, we are bodies. We sit next to bodies; we shake hands or hug, or high five; we drink coffee and lemonade and eat cheesecake. We hear music and sing (some Sunday I would love to look out and see everyone singing); we walk on the grass or some climb a tree. Some wag said we are a faith from the neck up only, all brain and no body. The brain is great but the body is too.
Every body is beautiful, has beauty, is beauty, knows beauty (same with everybody). Young and old, tall and short, big and little – I love them all. So watch the Olympics. It is way better than the Superbowl.
-Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson