Thursday, May 06, 2021

Rev. Klockers: God should have made a creative advertisement for the Super Bowl

| February 10, 2021 1:00 AM


Immanuel Lutheran Church

In Acts 10: 9-16 (using the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible) we read of Peter’s vision:

“About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.”

On Sunday afternoon, I watched the Super Bowl. I only had casual interest in viewing. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the teams.

As you likely already know, in Sunday’s game, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers frustrated the Kansas City Chiefs and their high-powered offense. I wasn’t disappointed when the contest became a one-sided blowout. Why was this so? My primary reason for viewing was for the commercials.

What makes for a highly successful Super Bowl advertisement? It really needs to capture a person’s attention. That could be through the use of humor, the “cute factor,” a tug on emotional heartstrings, nostalgia, something highly unusual, et cetera – anything that will cause a buzz among those who watch.

One way of achieving this is to show that product at least twice within that prime-time Super Bowl slot, then to pray it is featured on a list of the best Super Bowl advertisements. So, that means it would be shown (at least) three times. That’s best case.

In the Biblical story from Acts, Chapter 10, Peter has a vision. One could call it an “advertisement from God.” What did it have going for it? It wasn’t funny, didn’t tug at the heartstrings, and wasn’t sentimental.

The best way Peter might have described it was “highly unusual, rather odd and puzzling.” As such, it really caught Peter’s attention. It also happened three times. So, it wasn’t just an anomaly or coincidence. As such, the advertisement was a success. Now, would the person watching take the next step and make a purchase?

What was the “product” God was advertising to Peter?

We find out later in Chapter 10. God arranges for Peter to meet a Gentile named Cornelius. When he does, the meaning of that memorable commercial finally came into focus:

(Peter) said to (Cornelius and his people) in verse 28: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.”

Peter ends up staying with Cornelius and his family and friends for a few days. This implies that Peter shared meals at their table, which would include food a Jew would ordinarily consider “unclean.”

The purpose of a commercial is to convince a person to purchase a product; one could say it also gives vision to the possibilities of a new reality.

In our fractured, polarized world, I wish we could all view commercials like Peter received. Where are these advertisements? They can be found throughout Scripture. They describe God’s love and ask that we love one another in spite of our differences.

Blessed are those who actively seek out the product instead of changing the channel.

Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Moses Lake and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.