What a super Super Bowl


As most of you know, this past Sunday was the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, I was traveling that evening so I did not see the commercials (admittedly, my favorite part). I did, however, check them out earlier this week and was pleased to see at least several that were not only great to watch, but also, delivered important messages.


New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s decision to raise awareness about anti-Semitism was definitely timely. The rising tide of anti-Semitism worldwide is truly terrifying, that is, if we allow its insidious creep to continue unchecked into our sensibilities. Dr. Clarence B. Jones, draft speech writer for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech, provided eloquent commentary reminding viewers of the prominent role of Jewish Americans in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The commercial highlighted video footage of civil rights marches and related events of that era. The ad helped us not to forget the past and fall victim to current events and influences.


The “He gets us” Jesus ads that were aired poignantly took the message of loving one’s neighbor to the next level. One started with “Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet. He gets us. All of us. . . Love your neighbor”. It shows multiple groupings of two people on opposite ends of political, theological, societal, and cultural issues with one bathing the feet of the other. Although there has been controversy surrounding these ads, they do reflect Yeshua’s teachings to us to serve one another humbly and with love despite our differences.


As I pondered these multi million dollar commercials on mainstream programming being aired during one of the most watched programs of the year, I was encouraged that they were there at all. I was encouraged that so much is being discussed about them, even that they are making some people uncomfortable, and for others perhaps prompting at their hearts to at least think about God during entertainment. The ads were bold. Nothing subliminal about the Jesus messages!


Tuesday’s Daily Dvar in Acts 3 recalled Peter’s healing of a lame man at one of the temple gates after Yeshua’s death and resurrection. It always amazes me to read of the apostles’ faith walks since they were just ordinary Jewish people like some of you and like me before their walk with Yeshua (can you imagine??!!!!). As is human, throughout their journey with Him, despite seeing miracle after miracle, they still had their doubts. It truly took Yeshua dying, coming back, His eating fish after resurrecting, and in one apostle’s case actually being the subject of discussion about the nail holes in His body for even the apostles to really believe Yeshua was who He said He was. How much more challenging the journey for those who are not even interested in the topic of faith and God.


So when I read of Peter’s ability to heal, I was reminded that Yeshua intended His followers to build their faith, and by so doing, to be able to act in His ways, to unconditionally love, to serve, and to even be able to heal others as one learns more about these practices. These abilities in we mere mortals comes through our faith in Him to whom we commit our lives.


Being able to love unconditionally, to serve selflessly, to be humble, to heal, to forgive are the fruits of faith, blessings showered on us by His Love of us, our reason for being, our “mission” – to bring God’s love to all. To know Him through Yeshua is beyond short sentence description.  Living with Yeshua in our hearts expands our abilities to selflessly love and serve in ways that we didn’t understand the same way before knowing Him. We are given new eyes, new hearts.


I have been writing these Shabbat encouragements for over 15 years. It’s interesting to look back at the various messages. I notice that in my earlier years the messages had so many stories of God’s Presence in our lives, His evidence in nature, His Love of us, coincidences I called synchronicities to show He was with us when not planned or when not obviously present. I was more sensitive to how my readers, especially those who do not know Yeshua yet, may feel my words in their hearts.


In most recent times, for whatever reason the promptings have so led, I’ve yearned to share with you how real Yeshua is, how much He wants us to know Him. As a result, perhaps I am not doing so with that same sensitivity as in my earlier writings. I don’t question this change for perhaps these are those times that the message just needs to ring out.


When I read about hundreds of millions of people watching “The Chosen” or see Super Bowl ads about Jesus, it feels as if something bigger than all of us is going on (which is always the case, it just being a matter of our seeing it). The fact that mainstream media and so many people around the world are interested in the topic of God, in particular His manifestation through Yeshua, suggests to me that we are living in extraordinary times, the days when these messages are ready to be, are needing to be, heard.


Each step along the way to knowing Him is miraculous, even in the setbacks, making the seeking part of the building of one’s faith even more profound when understood. As more individuals begin to be curious about faith in Him, and then as that curiosity grows and multiplies through others, we as a people build communal faith and receive, individually and communally His blessings of faith, love, even healing.


What each person does with those blessings being bestowed by Him becomes part of each of our faith journeys. When we use those gifts selflessly loving and serving others we and those we touch, and those they touch, experience His Love, a divine love that the whole world will know when they know Him.


What a beautiful thought that a simple act of kindness, of love, of service in whatever ways we are each called to do, can bring us closer to Him. What a beautiful thought that the act of humbly washing another’s feet was shared with 100 million people. So if a little controversy results, let it be, for “bad” news is often Good News.


For those already on a faith walk, how encouraging that not just beer and nachos filled us up that night.


Shabbat shalom.


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