Over the past two weeks, millions have watched the Super Bowl and the Grammy's. In so doing, millions have been presented a very clear message. More than ever before, I believe these two massive events are teaching us something about our nation and the world, that we need to pay attention to.
I don't know if you noticed it, but both of these events, usually marked as care-free parties where anything goes, took on very different tones this year. The tone of the care-free party was absent, and replaced with the tone of reality. It was a tone that couldn't be missed, and forced us to watch in ways we haven't in the past. The usually light-hearted and hilarious commercials of the Super Bowl were replaced with heavy, heart-wrenching messages of parenting, gender equality, and race. The Grammy's usually wild in their entertainment, were mostly clean and driven by the same focus as the Super Bowl. The overall tone was one of a crying hope for change. It was a cry for domestic violence to stop. A cry for sexual crimes to come to an end. A plea for racism to be vanquished. A longing for equality to be achieved.
While you may not always agree with all the "rich and famous" have to say (I certainly don't), there are some observations we can make and things we can learn. Below is just a small sample of what I've picked up in the message of these two events.
People Are Hurting
The first thing I've observed, is that people are hurting. Now this might sound like a no-brainer, but it's not. We live in a country where the idea of the American Dream is alive and well, and at its root, the American Dream tells us that we're supposed to be living lives of liberty, and happiness. This dream is supposed to be life-giving, but its reality is non-existent. Don't get me wrong, many have it very good, but deep inside, when the doors are shut and the blinds of the beautiful mansions are closed, pain rages. People are being assaulted, de-humanized, and having all of life stripped away from them. Pain is the far greater reality.
The second thing I've observed, is that people care. People genuinely care and have a desire to see things in this world truly change. And many are willing to do something about it. I'm often personally convicted that I don't care as much. My reality is often too comfortable. We could say that people don't care, or we could pick apart the way that people show how they care, but this is too simple. People, regardless of motives and methods, genuinely want to see a new reality in this world.
People Are Confused
The third thing I've observed, is that people are confused. I myself couldn't help but be a little confused when watching the Grammy's. One minute I was watching a music award show that was passionately pushing the need for sexual crimes and domestic violence to come to an end. Coupled with this were emotional songs and poems with powerful lyrics that would create a desire in just about anyone to see these horrific crimes stop. But in the next moment, I was confronted with the preview to a movie (Fifty Shades of Grey) that promotes some of the most horrific, dehumanizing, sexually offensive, and violent content that will be presented on a theatre screen this year. This doesn't make sense. The message is confusing.
People Are Afraid
The fourth thing I've observed, is that people are afraid. It's as if reality is really beginning to sink in and people are thinking to themselves, "if something doesn't change, things could get really bad." People are afraid of what will happen if things don't change quickly. What will happen to their loved ones, their closest friends, their co-workers, themselves?
People Are Looking For A Hero
The final observation I want to list here (there are many more I could make), is that people are looking for a hero. Our hope is that someone or something will set things right, that someone will take a big enough stand, and provide a large enough influence, and rally the troops (the world) to bring about real and lasting change.
The problem is that this hero is not among us. Not a single one of us has the power to change the world, and even in our most valiant efforts of pulling together, we will continually fail. The dark clouds may disappear for a while in the form of small victories, but eventually, the storms always role back in.
The Hero Has Already Come
So, is all lost? Are we without hope? Should we just throw our hands in the air and say, "to Hell with it!"
I don't think so.
The bible teaches that our hero has already come in the person and work of Jesus. He came into this world and took the stand against sin (the human problem) that we have not, and made a way for us to be reconciled back to God––the ultimate hope and desire of humanity. Jesus is the only one who has ever lived perfectly. Jesus came to put an end to domestic violence. He came to put an end to sexual exploitation and all the other crimes that go along with it. He came to bring hope for peace, and he has initiated this reality with the presence of his kingdom here on earth. He came to change not just moral standards, but hearts.
Because of Jesus, there are glimpses of the way we long for things to be one day, and because of Jesus, there is hope that one day things will be fully as we want them to be––as God wants them to be.
Jesus bore the injustice of all humanity upon himself on the cross. In so doing, he leaves us with that hopeful day when all nations, all peoples, all tribes, and all tongues, will be with united with him as one. He leaves us with hope!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. - Romans 15:13