091208 newSpin
A prophet with a new message, but he's not the Savior

The Religious Sports Fan

The Boundaries Blur; The Boundaries Clarify
By Howard Stringfellow, Archdeacon, Diocese of Bethlehem
9 December 2009

Joe Buck on FOX Sports TV said it again Sunday: “It’s Hail, Mary time for the Cowboys!” And the old questions rose again, begging attention and clarification. The old questions have answers.

The Cowboys had a 10-point lead in the second quarter. Then the Giants scored two touchdowns and took the lead. And with seconds left on the clock at the end of the first half and with the ball on the Cowboys’ 36-yard line, Tony Romo connected with Jason Witten for 6 yards. Another pass to him gained 7 yards. The time was running out. Excitement and noise rose. And then Buck was moved to say with some feeling what he said.

Should we exhaust the other options before we resort to prayer? Does desperation authenticate prayer? Does Hail, Mary time mean that a good outcome is a 1000-to-1 shot?

People, I know, pray without the slightest concern for outcomes of games and sometimes even for outcomes of life situations. And they do it every day of their lives. At some point, they have come to see that the prayer in them comes from heaven, that God uses prayer to strengthen the relationship they share, and that prayer deepens the identification between them. In time, prayer becomes as natural as breathing and as important.

I know this. Somebody’s prayers were answered on Sunday. The Giants won, 31-24.

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