Summary: Sermon for Super Bowl Sunday. Baptism and Communion are two things Christ meant to unite us. When people are able to look beyond their differences and come together to celebrate these holy sacraments then it is the greatest "Touchdown" in history.
Making a Touchdown
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas "; still another, "I follow Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” I Corinthians 1:10-17
Intro: Super Bowl 36 was played in 2002 between the National Football Conference champions the St. Louis Rams and the American Football Conference champion New England Patriots. The Patriots defeated the Rams 20–17. It was New England's first Super Bowl victory. The game was played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, on February 3, 2002. Following the September 11 attacks earlier in the season, the NFL postponed a week of regular games and moved the league's playoff schedule back. As a result, Super Bowl 36 was rescheduled from the original date of January 27 to February 3, becoming the first Super Bowl played in February. Due to heightened security measures following the terrorist attacks that happened early in the season, this was the first Super Bowl designated as a National Special Security Event by the Office of Homeland Security. Since then all Super Bowls have been designated a National Special Security Event.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday 49played between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Sea Hawks. I know that at least some of you would like for me to continue to talk about football. I could include lessons about "deflate gate" how that competition can cause us to not play by the rules. We could also talk about how good communication is most often how ball games are won. I am going to continue the sermon by talking about “Making a Touchdown.” But the “Touchdown” that I am referring to is not on the football field. But at the baptistery where people are baptized and the altar where we take communion known as the Lord’s Supper. For both are Holy Sacraments which Jesus did, and he also commanded us to do.
It is a place where our heart and mind can lay aside the thoughts of competition and threats of terrorism and find unity. We could join hands with strangers. But we leave holding hands with a brother or sister in Christ. We could pray together with people regardless of their politics. How would you feel if you were visiting a church and you have come down to the communion rail during the service and you are kneeling at the altar waiting for the bread and cup. Only when it comes your turn the Pastor and communion steward pass you by. For a moment you would feel confused. You might be saying to yourself, “wait a minute, you skipped me. Where is the cup? Where is the bread?” Only to realize that you were intentionally left out because you are not a member of that particular faith. I would feel embarrassed. I would feel rejected. If you were to only one who was not served you would feel excluded. All eyes are on you as you take the walk of shame back to your seat. I wander if the Apostle Paul would be watching down asking the question, “Is Christ divided?”
What if you have already been baptized and want to join a church. But the church requires you to be baptized again because you were not baptized by them? Isn’t that divisive? Isn’t the whole purpose of baptism centers around uniting everyone into the body of Christ?
Was our Lord, who ate with publicans and notorious sinners and talked about sheep of other folds, watching down over me asking, “Is Christ divided?” Will we let the table of grace keep us from grace? One bread, one body, one baptism, one Lord of all. Will we let the holy water of baptism be marked as unholy because it wasn't done by us but someone of another persuasion. Baptism is a sign of new birth. The church exists to serve a common good. It does not meet to serve your individual pleasure. You and I have to change the question from what do I get when I come to church. To what do I give, how can I serve, how is the world a better place because someone has known me? That is the real purpose of our existence and creation. Have you found that reason to live in your life? Rise out of your seat and come kneel at the altar and “Make a Touchdown.”