Super Soup for Supper

Super Bowl Sunday, or, as I experienced it growing up, SOUPer Bowl Sunday, was the day of the big non-perishables donation drive at my church for the local food pantry. Weeks ahead of time, we created flyers in Sunday School arts and crafts, hanging them all over the hallways of the church. One poster sticks out in my memory of a drawing of an oblong bowl, oddly pointed on the ends, with a curious lacing graphic on the wall of the bowl, a lumpy green mass with squiggles above it to make it look like something hot and steaming. My poster was the one with the misspelled “Supper Bowl”, and no pigskin in sight.

As inconceivable as it may seem, I have not watched a significant amount of American football in my life. When this time of year comes around, I imagine there are many people who would like to shake me and unintentionally quote Isaiah: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning?” I have been to Super Bowl gatherings, certainly one, maybe two, where I played board games all afternoon and evening. I have even been to football games in stadiums and once saw Touchdown Jesus at Notre Dame with my own eyes. My favorite football game when I attended RPI was the playoff game in the blizzard. I spent the time inside the academic building that neighbored the field babysitting the pep-band woodwind and brass instruments, sipping hot cocoa my fellow bandmates brought me, reading a novel. Every so often I would glance up to the closed-circuit TV supposed to be displaying the game outside the window, but all I saw was a field of white with grey shadows bunching around different areas.

When I recall the Super Bowl, I think of Soup, warming, soothing, and nourishing. How important and vital this concoction of broth, vegetables, and protein. Yet, there are so many people who do not have even this meager comfort when the temperature drops, the money gets tight. This weekend, whether gathered around TV screens with friends eating seven-layer chili cheese dip, or ignoring the clash of the titans entirely, remember the simple comfort of soup, visit neighbors, and lift up the sick. Make a donation to the food pantry in honor of your favorite football team! And when it seems like all we do is toil to care for people in need, remember these words from Isaiah: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.”

SUPC Pastor