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Summary: This is a sermon that encourages people to put the work into preparing for Easter (Ash Wednesday, Sunday Services, etc.) in order to get the most out of Easter.

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Matthew 17:1-9

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still peaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the Disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

“Bustin’ Out!”

[Illustration from article “Super Bowl Sunday Partying, Eating and Consumption Statistics: Statistics Beyond Football About Guacamole and Potato Chips”, by Os Davis published Feb 1, 2006. (heavily modified)]

[All football and Super Bowl stats from NFL.com]

They oughta just make today an official national holiday; 125 million Americans can’t be wrong. Think about it: How many other non-holiday days have all of the elements of the Super Bowl? The gathering of family and friends, the donning of ceremonial garb, the feast of fried stuff with cheese… and the desperate search for hangover cures the following day? Let’s face it: Even if you can’t tell Randy Moss from peat moss, odds are you’ll be plunked down in front of the tube watching the biggest sporting event of the year.

Maybe you know nothing about the game and you’re just there for the commercials; or maybe you’re one of those people who can spout statistics like it was your job to memorize them… “You know Brady had 4,806 yards in the regular season… he scored 50 touchdowns breaking the single season record held by Peyton Manning. And he only had 8 interceptions! That makes for a passer rating of 117.2!” Well… despite what end of the spectrum you are on… here are a few statistics we all can understand:

No less than $55 million is expected to be spent on food alone for The Big Game. After spending an estimated ten million man-hours (give or take a few of seconds) preparing all that grub, Americans are expected to consume the lot within approximately fifteen minutes, well before the first touchdown is scored. Twice as much Pizza is consumed on this day than any other day of the year, and twice as many parties are thrown on this day… beating out even New Years Eve! There is a lot of preparation and a lot of hype leading up to today.

Two full weeks have passed since the last football game was played, yet the media has not found any lack of material to talk about for hours and hours on end. Is Tom Brady’s ankle as bad as some think? Is he going to have to wear a boot during the game? Is it all a media stunt by Bill Bellichek? They analyze every little thing to N’th degree.

They analyze the field conditions, the atmospheric pressures, the psychological pressures… and these so called master prognosticators use all of these elements to predict who the winner of the Super Bowl will be like they were predicting the weather. Almost unanimously… they have dubbed the 2008 Patriots the greatest team to ever walk the face of the earth. They predict a blowout of massive proportion that will ensure that the Patriots go 19-0… the first undefeated team in the history of Football since the new 16 game schedule. All of this, before a single play is made.

So why not just hand the trophy to Tom Brady, along with yet another Super Bowl MVP title, pass along the bad news to the 1972 Dolphins. And we can all just get back to our routine where nap time is the most exciting thing to happen Sunday afternoons. But there is a reason they still play the game. Even the wisest of prognosticators does not know how the game will actually end.

In Super Bowl X, the game was capped by a spectacular Terry Bradshaw throw as he was hit. The pass landed safely in the arms of Lynn Swann for a game-winning 64-yard touchdown to win the game. In Super Bowl XXV, the Giants were leading the Bills 20 – 19. On the very last play of the game, Bills kicker Scott Norwood attempted a 47 yard field goal to win the game. He missed… and the Giants won the game. In Super Bowl XXXVI the Patriots were tied with the Rams, 17 all… in the final minutes of the game Tom Brady completed three passes to J.R. Redmond to set up one of the best kicks I’ve seen in a pressure situation. Adam Vinatieri won the game with a 48-yard field goal as time expired.

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