Good morning, I'm the Rev Steve Page from St Patrick's Anglican Church, and you're listening to the Daily Devotional moment, sponsored by the Hudson Bay Ministerial.
This month, our images of Christian faith and spirituality come from the wonderful world of Sports. This is my final devotional, I hope you have enjoyed them and found them spiritually helpful.
With the Super Bowl coming this weekend, let's end with a football lesson. Let's go back to Super Bowl 22, between the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos in January 1988.
One of the biggest story-lines heading into that game was that Washington's Doug Williams would be the first-ever African-American quarterback to start a Super Bowl. He entered the league a decade earlier, as a highly-touted 1st-round draft pick. But a somewhat disappointing career landed him the role of the backup quarterback for the Redskins.
But Washington head coach Joe Gibbs chose his backup quarterback as the starter for the Super Bowl. It was not a total surprise, as Williams had been playing better than starting QB Jay Schroeder over the last few games. A bigger surprise was Gibbs choosing rookie running back Timmy Smith for his 1st-ever NFL start in the Super Bowl.
The first quarter was all Denver, as the Broncos opened up a 10-0 lead. But Washington came storming back in the 2nd quarter. In fact, they scored a Super Bowl record 35 points with 5 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter.
It started with a bang, on an 80-yard catch and run by Ricky Sanders. A few minutes later, Gary Clark made a diving catch in the end zone for a 27 yard TD. Their next drive took only two plays, capped by rookie Timmy Smith's 58-yard touchdown run. Another long touchdown reception by Ricky Sanders, this time 50 yards, made the score 28-10 Washington. But they still were not done. A 43-yard run by Timmy Smith set up an 8-yard touchdown toss from Williams to Clint Didier. They went into the half-time break with an insurmountable 35-10 lead, en route to a 42-10 victory.
Along the way they set a pack of Super Bowl records, like most total yards and most points in a quarter. Some of the records have been broken since 1988, but one that still stands is rookie Timmy Smith's record for most rushing yards in a Super Bowl. He finished his first-ever NFL start with an amazing 204 yards on the ground. And Doug Williams was named the game's MVP.
Coach Gibbs chose a couple unlikely starters in Williams, his backup quarterback, and Smith, his rookie running back. They rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion!
The Bible tells us that God chooses us. We are chosen to be a part of his people. Saint Peter writes, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (2:9)
God has chosen us, and has a mission for us. A role to play in God's own mission in the world, one that has been in the works since the beginning. “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph2:10)
You might think, “Who, me? God chose me to help in his mission in the world?” Sometimes the choice is obvious, someone who has just the right set of skills. But God delights in choosing and preparing surprising people for key roles. Think of the Bible stories of David or the Disciples. David was the youngest son, there were at least 7 older boys in Jesse's family in the little village of Bethlehem. But David was God's choice to become King, and what a king David became! (1Sam16)
Or the disciples. Many of them were fishermen and labourers. They are described as “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13), but God chose them for the job of launching the church after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
You are chosen by God, for a special relationship with him, and for a special purpose. No matter if you are a backup or a rookie. Are you up for it?
Thanks for joining me over the past month. For St Patrick's Church, I'm Steve Page.