Poetry for Superbowl Sunday

Evening Practice  (excerpt)—  D. Nurkse
… I ran out
to savor the dregs of dusk
playing with my friends
in the road that led to the highway.
The ball flew up toward day
and landed in night. …

Superbowl Sunday (excerpts)  —  G Doktor
… screaming in joy, not pain
Believing in a team
That can take us all the way
To this season’s big game

… Losing our own contest is final
Unthinkable
Just for today we take a break
Watch others rush-grunt-sweat

Carried to this impossible place
By someone else’s
Strong bodies, large hearts
Transported to a transcendence

Different than our own
Though we too risk everything
Put it all on the line
Hold nothing back

… we don’t say out loud
To fail the final goal
Isn’t an option
Though it could happen

We show up, day by day,
Try over and over
Lay plans to win against all odds
Though truthfully we know it’s enough
To play at all

Wide Receiver — Mark Halliday
In the huddle you said “Go long—get open”
and at the snap I took off along the right sideline
and then cut across left in a long arc
and I’m sure I was open at several points—
glancing back I saw you pump-fake more than once
but you must not have been satisfied with what you saw downfield
and then I got bumped off course and my hands touched the turf
but I regained my balance and dashed back to the right
I think or maybe first left and then right
and I definitely got open but the throw never came—
maybe you thought I couldn’t hang on to a ball flung so far
or maybe you actually can’t throw so far
but in any case I feel quite open now,
the defenders don’t seem too interested in me
I sense only open air all around me
though the air is getting darker and it would appear
by now we’re well into the fourth quarter
and I strongly doubt we can afford to settle for
dinky little first downs if the score is what I think it is
so come on, star boy, fling a Hail Mary
with a dream-coached combination of muscle and faith
and I will gauge the arc and I will not be stupidly frantic
and I will time my jump and—I’m just going to say
in the cool gloaming of this weirdly long game
it is not impossible that I will make the catch.

Beautiful Game (excerpt) — Sharon Wilkie-Jones
… Of the game that called for disciples
And chose Saints to preach its gospels
And sinners to bear witness to its
Open heart and closed hand
This football life
Tumbling through the looking glass at the end
Of the rainbow
Moving into hearts with the effortless
Ease of night slipping into day
Its atmosphere alive with the thudding pulse
The rising pant of expectation
Stepping out of textbooks and history books
Into a kaleidoscope of noise and celebration
Where leather caseys parcelled in mud
And sweat and blood and philosophy and pain
Can still grace a sky whilst beneath sit the faithful
And the fortunate
As hope waits with its pockets stuffed
With bitten nails
This football life
A game to break your heart …
And then
… To fall in love
Again
And again
And again…

 

Scriptures during Times of Challenge & Struggle

Inspired by recent ski races, upcoming Olympic games, and today’s Superbowl Sunday, we discussed how we might pray during competitions or periods of conflict, stress, and struggle. We discussed forms of prayer or reflection that might center us at these times:

  1. For Preparation (becoming focused and ready to engage in the experience)
  2. For Support (intercession for comfort, strength, gifts and resources to go through the game, the contest, the stressful or conflicted situation)
  3. For Others (teammates, competitors/opponents, allies/friends, families/fans, coaches/teachers/mentors, colleages, etc)
  4. For Gratitude (thankfulness in the midst of challenge)

People sat at tables during brunch church, picked a scripture from among the collection of Bible passages in baskets at the table, and discussed their selected passage’s potential as a resource for prayer or reflection. People discussed how they might categorize the text among the four possible prayer opportunities above (prayers for preparation, for support, for others, for gratitude).

Here are the scriptures below. They were selected based on themes of athletes and contests, strength or vigor, images of body, gifts and blessings, victory and triumph, weakness or loss, and other such key ideas that might intersect with times of competition and challenge, conflict and struggle.

Is there one that resonates for you?

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Youth & Activities: Highlights for February

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

FRI, FEB 2

  • YOUTH DINNER & GAMES
    6pm • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church
    Ipswich, MA Middle School youth group will hold a weekend retreat at the church. Our youth and families are welcome to come for a community meal and games on Friday.

SAT, FEB 3

  • IPSWICH YOUTH OUTING
    8am – Noon • Jackson XC Center
  • LUNCH
    12:30-2pm • Parish Hall, JCC
  • IPSWICH YOUTH OUTING
    2-5 • Black Mountain. Ipswich Middle Our youth are welcome to get outside with the Ipswich youth. who will be downhill skiing in the afternoon.
  • DINNER & GAMES & PRAYERS
    6:30pm • Parish Hall, JCC
    Ipswich Middle School youth group makes dinner and holds worship. Our youth and families are welcome to come for meal, games, and worship on Saturday evening.

SUN, FEB 4

  • SUPERBOWL BRUNCH CHURCH
     

    10:30am • Jackson Community Church
    Bring a potluck breakfast/brunch/lunch item to share. We will start in the sanctuary, but spend most of our time in Parish Hall around tables for a community-style meal that also serves as our communion. Conversations at table focused on scriptures about athleticism, competition, victory and defeat, strength and resilience. Fun and family-friendly! Great way to kick off Superbowl Sunday!

MON, FEB 5

  • MANDALA MONDAY
    7pm • Church Library, Second Floor
    Exploring expressive arts as a spiritual practice through contemplative coloring, drawing from different wisdom traditions. Church provides patterns and colored pencils. Older children, youth and families welcome.

TUE, FEB 6

  • MARDI GRAS
    6-8pm • Parish Hall

    Food and music by KHS jazz ensemble and Miss Maybelle & Slimpickins. Take a selfie with our beads and costumes, or come decked out and ready to dance (and socialize). Family-friendly. Donations gratefully accepted.

SAT, FEB 10

  • TRILLIUM SUMMIT
    8:30am-5pm • Whitney Center

    Trillium Summit, a one-day conference for girls and women. Admission is free and any money raised from donations will be given to Starting Point: Services for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence.  The idea behind this is to bring together girls and women from the Valley for a day of crafts, snacks, games, speakers, networking and fun.  We have an awesome roster of local leaders who are very excited to share their wisdom.  Topics covered will include:
    •  Why You?  Why Now? The Importance of Getting to Know Yourself
    • How to Find and Fulfill Your Wishes
    • There is No One Path to Success (adult panel discussion)
    • Putting Your Best Foot Forward/Creating Your Own Brand
    • Choose Your Own Adventure (on Boundaries and Being an Upstander)
    • We’re More Alike Than You’d Think – A Basket of Questions (youth panel discussion)
    • Tried and True Tips for Taking this to Tomorrow
    Registration is open and we are asking all our supporters to please pass the word. You can sign up at Eventbrite. We also have a Facebook page where we will try to post updates. Questions? Reach out to Lauren Orsini at laurenvorsini@gmail.com or at jess.dellavalla@gmail.com.
    HOPE on the SLOPES
    Sunday, Feb 11 @ Mt Cranmore


    41st Anniversary of the Race to Beat Cancer (Hope on the Slopes)
    To benefit the American Cancer Society. It’s time of year to start thinking about Hope On The Slopes – The American Cancer Society’s Race to Beat Cancer! You can get involved in many ways. Our church sponsors this team, including sponsorships for our athletes and providing volunteers.
    • You can participate as a skier or snowboarder. If you participate to race, the Mission Committee will sponsor you $25 towards your fundraising efforts. For more information go to http://relay.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=85419
    • You can serve as a volunteer for the event.
    PREPARED to SERVE
    Sat, Feb 24 • 8am-4pm

    Youth invited to attend!
    Workshops on environmental and social justice issues, as well as program development for youth and families. Rev Gail will be traveling to this conference and can provide same-day ride for 1-2 people. Jackson Community Church will cover cost of registration.

Reflection on themes of game and challenge: inspired by Superbowl Sunday

Inspired by a collection of scriptures on triumph and defeat, athletic strength and resilience, running the race, being present to the challenges of life and faith.

Classic poets’ commentaries on challenges, in honor of the Superbowl.
Excerpted from an article by Barbara Mossberg, HuffPost.

A moody child and wildly wise
Pursued the game with joyful eyes
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet

One equal temper of heroic hearts
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Continue reading “Reflection on themes of game and challenge: inspired by Superbowl Sunday”

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