12 February 2017

Of underdogs and the redeemed

Watching Super Bowl LI last Sunday, I was rooting for the Falcons. Like most, I enjoy a good underdog story (no pun intended with Michael Vick in mind...), even though both the Patriots and Falcons had excellent seasons. So, by "underdog," I mean simply that the Falcons were not favoured to beat the Patriots. And man, the first 3 quarters of the game were exciting and hopeful for anyone who wanted to see the Patriots served their comeuppance for being lousy, rotten cheaters! Of course, as things turned out, the Patriots won. And that got me thinking...
While we want to see vice punished and virtue rewarded, that doesn't always happen. Corrupt, wicked people get away with their schemes for ill-gotten gain (see: Bernie Madoff). Honest, hard-working people don't always get to enjoy the fruits of their labours (see: Job). Again, this is why I like ASoIaF so much: it depicts the fallen world in which we live, not some prelapsarian paradise where the good guys always win (lookin' at you, J.R.R.T.). Nevertheless, we yearn for such justice - so long as it's in our favour for it to be thus meted out. But then it occurred to me: if the Patriots didn't cheat in this season, post-season, or Super Bowl, they simply turned out to be the better team.
Since no allegations of fraudulent footballing have yet come forth (and if any do and are proven, please NFL commission, please, punish the Pats and Belichick so thoroughly this time around that they don't ever have the opportunity to do so again!), this reality has made me reflect on the redemptive nature of Super Bowl LI. Think about it: a vast majority of football fans were rooting against the Patriots, based on their prior misconduct. As it stands, it appears that they did not do anything untoward this time around, and won the sport's championship game. While it's certainly moreso the American ideal of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps rather than the Gospel's example of God lifting our feet out of our own muck & mire to set us on a Rock, it gave me pause. And, reflecting on my judgmental heart towards something as trivial as the Super Bowl, it made me examine myself to see whether I am so judgmental of others that I would rather see them sent to Hell than redeemed; or again, whether I am acutely conscious of God's grace in my life enough to live in humble cognizance that He reached down to redeem me when I was dead in my transgressions.

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