The Super Bowl and the Bombs

I have a story to tell. It happened this past Sunday evening when my husband and I had settled into our living room couch with a bowl of popcorn filled to the brim. We were ready to participate in the all-American ritual of watching the big game. But somewhere in the second quarter, it all changed for me.

Later, I wrote a poem story about my evening.

The Super Bowl and the Bombs

Super Bowl Sunday.
I sat with my husband as the game began.
He wanted to watch (he'd played in college),
and I wanted to keep him company.
I mostly caught the replays
as I ran through my emails and planned my week.

Then came the message tossed right into my box:
"Meeting for silent prayer now!
Murad in Rafah asks us for prayer now!"

My friend Joe had written me.
He'd worked with Murad in Gaza,
teaching divided peoples
ways to live in peace,
teaching non-violent responses
to those surrounded by strife.
Together, Murad in Gaza
 and Joe in America
built spaces where peace could grow.

But now Murad texted to Joe:
"Very violent bombing now --
in all of Rafah!
We may be martyrs tonight.
Pray for us, to save my family and the children."

In my living room
Super Bowl ads filled the screen:
This is the beer to drink!
This insurance will always protect you!
Driving this car (or maybe this other one)
will make you happy!

And my friend Joe wrote
"Join us on Zoom for prayer now.
The need is immediate."
Just silent words on my laptop screen;
 no drama of song or dance to coerce me.

I left the TV and the Super Bowl, 
and the Chiefs and 49ers
to battle to the end, and beyond the end.
I left Travis and Taylor for others to watch.
I left the adverts to scream
their happiness directions for others
to follow.

I clicked on the Zoom link,
and entered the place of prayer.
Joe said he'd heard from Murad again.
It was 3am in Gaza,
"and the bombs are falling everywhere here.
They may hit us at any time."

We joined in prayer as the bombs fell.
Together we wove a circle of Light 
around Murad and his family, 
around all of Rafah and Gaza
and the world.

The Chiefs won the Bowl in overtime.
but when bombing is the game, no one wins.
There's no shaking hands at the end of that game,
no "Well played today!" from one team to another.
When bombing is the game, we all lose.

If my poem story has spoken to you, please share it with others.

(Murad and his family survived that night’s bombing. Not all did.)

8 thoughts on “The Super Bowl and the Bombs”

  1. Holy ground is a mystery for me of wonder and faith that being one in spirit with suffering will transform something somehow, if I simply act on inspiration. Just now, Micah 6:8 comes to my mind: And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
    I am grateful for like company.

    1. Dear Anne, Yes, it is “holy ground” when we move forward in prayer, and we don’t know how our faithfulness makes a difference. Yet we are still called. Thank you for reminding us about Micah 6:8! It’s good to know we are not alone in being faithful as we “walk humbly”. peace, Nancy

  2. Just read your blog on the Super Bowl. It elicited a visceral response to the madness of this world – the consumerism, the denial, the ‘get one up’ manship of what we Americans have accepted as life.
    Is there some way I can be a part of this prayer circle for Murad?

    1. Dear Lenoir,
      It was good to hear from you, and I’m glad this poem and my experience moved you deeply. I do hope you will hold Murad and his extended family in your prayer as they continue to live in this dangerous place and situation. Let us all hold in our prayers those who have no secure and warm safety in their lives!
      peace, Nancy

  3. This piece brought tears to my eyes. It is so difficult to reconcile going about our lives as usual while such suffering is taking place in Gaza and other parts of the world. This sometimes nags at my conscience when I dig into a nutritious meal knowing others are starving. Or, sitting in my comfortable home while others are huddled in makeshift shelters as bombs fall around them.

    And I understand why this discrepancy in lifestyles was especially glaring while watching the Super Bowl and its over the top commercials. We are so far removed from the happenings in Gaza, but getting Joe’s text from Murad in the midst of the game made the contrast and inequity even more apparent. Your last paragraph was so tragically true. Thank you, Nancy for writing and feeling deeply.

    1. Dear Laurie, Thank you for writing, and letting me know that the experience I shared touched you so deeply. I’m glad to know that you (and others) feel the inequity of how we live in safety and warmth and plenty of food—and others do not. I think we are particularly called to live with compassion, giving to others as we can, and remembering the suffering. May we join together as we do this!

  4. Thank you for this, Nancy. This morning at our Sunday school time, a friend read a poem written by a prominent Palestinian poet. And right after that, the woman who was co-leader of the class prayed that people in Israel were dying too and I wanted to scream at her, not because she was wrong, but because if felt like (and I think was) she falling into the “there are good people on both sides” thinking, while Murad and his family are hoping to live through each barrage. (I would probably benefit from Murad and Joe’s teachings on living in peace with others we don’t get along with! ).

    Have you heard any more from him? Praying along with you.

    1. Dear friend,
      First of all, as far as I know Murad and his family are well as of 2/18/24. Yes, we all need to learn peace-making ways—it’s a journey of learning and probably can go on the rest of our lives! It doesn’t need to be bombing that drives us apart; there’s so much division right now. Let us work on spreading peacemaking!

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