A couple of notes: I wrote this on Saturday, on short notice, based on one of this week’s lectionary readings. But I did lift and adapt some passages from an essay I have up elsewhere on this site. Also, I realize this is the second time this summer I’ve referenced “Chariots of Fire” (although, in my defense, not at the same church).
First UMC Lynchburg
July 28, 2013
Luke 11:1-13 (NRSV)
11:1 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
11:3 Give us each day our daily bread.
11:4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
11:5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;
11:6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’
11:7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’
11:8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
11:9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.
11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
11:11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish?
11:12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?
11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
From time to time, you hear athletes thanking God in locker-room interviews, or sometimes even entertainers thanking God in awards show acceptance speeches.
This practice is just as often held up to ridicule, and I can think of some particular comedians and commentators for whom it’s a personal pet peeve.
The usual argument these commentators make is that, quote, “God has better things to worry about than who wins a football game.” At first glance, this is quite a reasonable statement. There’s no reason to think that God has a favorite NFL team.