HAVE A COKE AND A SMILE
I'll admit that (as I said during worship yesterday) since last night's game didn't involve teams that matter (Steelers or Saints) I really wasn't all that interested beyond hoping that Peyton Manning would get the win. You'd think that after Seattle totally destroyed Denver, much of the post-game pontification would center around how the Seahawks put up one of the most dominating results in Super Bowl history.
You'd be wrong.
This morning, and again shortly after lunch when checking in on a few things, I must admit that I was simply stunned to see how much vitriol the Twittersphere and the Facebookers dumped on the Coca-Cola company after their commercial featuring a multi-lingual version of 'God Bless America.' When I first heard word of the brewing kerfuffle, I was thinking that this was a small group of people who had their knickers in a knot because they're those kinds of people.
Then, I started to realize how much this had taken over part of the conversation when I found stories about it in various news sources, and I started to laugh. I laughed because I believe Coke did a truly great thing in showing how rich the texture of America is, and as ones who are looking to sell to the largest population segment they can, they pulled it off flawlessly.
Of course, I started to realize that this kind of thinking (the idea that you'd quit drinking Coke or use a hashtag with a certain four-letter word as part of a global conversation on this topic) is not simply found in those who think that Americans ought to all be alike. (Those who had their land taken from them - there were many different tribes that spoke many different languages on this soil long before the first European laid eyes on the place.) Indeed, this kind of attitude is what can, and in many places does, kill the work of the message of the gospel.
I wonder how many who spewed venom towards Coke last night and today consider themselves to be good, honest, God-fearing religious people?
Did I understand the Coke commercial? Completely, from beginning to end. No, not because I am fluent in all those languages. Far from it, actually.
I understood the commercial completely because I knew the truth of the message that was being conveyed - the message that binds the intended audience together, regardless of the language spoken. The simple truth is you could not watch that commercial, in our culture, without getting the message crystal clear.
The gospel, the Good News, the Hope found in Christ our Lord, is the same, no matter the language in which it is spoken. You know it when you see it, and you know it when you don't.
Those who are whining about the Coke commercial - and the idea of America the Beautiful being sung in different languages that are, like it or not, native tongues of many residents of this country, have, quite simply, missed the entire point of the purposes of this society as laid out by it's founders and those who have followed in their footsteps.
May we, the church, always be ready to hear and to spread the gospel, in whatever language it may be presented, for it's message - that all are loved by God no matter who they are or what they do, and that God offers the hope of reconciliation and redemption to all - is one that transcends all nations, races, and tongues.
And that's a good thing, for none of them, including Christ himself, spoke a word of English.
Grace and Peace, Lamar