February 4, 2008

by Pastor George Van Alstine

Super Bowl, Super Tuesday primaries, super-duper everything. Can’t Americans ever do anything simple and quiet? Whatever we do, it’s got to be super. We even flock to super-churches, where the worship services are, I’m told, super.

The Super bowl is a great example of hype. It all centers around 60 or so ponderous super-athletes who have earned the right to bang against each other for about three hours. Whoever is standing at the end usually wins.

But built around this primal alpha-male contest, are all kinds of additional super experiences. Commentators begin the pre-game show early Super Sunday morning, interviewing athletes and entertainment celebrities, and offering their own expert analysis of what will happen during the game. At the halftime, popular entertainment groups present a super show. After the game, what happened on the field is repeatedly reviewed and analyzed in great detail.

Many Americans come together for Super Bowl parties to take in the total experience. People who don’t know the first thing about football choose a team and root ferociously for them. When partiers are about evenly divided, the interactions can become quite intense. Some people go home on a radical high, while others go home with broken hearts.

All of this seems to build up more and more every year. This is not accidental, but the result of a powerful program of hype developed and carried out by the National Football League and all the corporations ready to spend billions in advertising money to increase the Super Bowl experience.

“Hypeâ€? is an interesting word. It implies something is being overvalued and overadvertised, and this certainly applies to the Super Bowl. But you may not realize that “hypeâ€? is from the Greek word huper, which is the direct equivalent of the Latin (and English) word super. This seems to indicate that when we call something “super,â€? we are automatically involved in hype, or exaggeration.

But in the Bible there are some words beginning with huper (super) that are not at all exaggerations:

“We always give thanks for you, because your faith is growing abundantly (super-growing).â€? 2 Thessalonians 1:3

“Give and it will be given to you; a good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over (super-filled).â€? Luke 6:38

“I pray that you may know … the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (super-knowledge). Now to him who is able to accomplish abundantly far more (super-abounding) than we can ask or imagine … be glory … forever and forever.â€? Ephesians 3:19-20

“In all these things we are more than conquerors (super-conquerors) through him who loved us.â€? Romans 8:37

“I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing worth (super-value) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.â€? Philippians 3:8

“We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power (super-power) belongs to God and does not come from us.â€? 2 Corinthians 4:7

“God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above (super-raised) all rule and authority and power … â€? Ephesians 1:21

God doesn’t overadvertise, and that’s super!