Monday night the stadium went eerily quiet. Normally articulate ESPN announcers struggled to find the right words to say; players on both sides cried and prayed.
Football fans across the world sat stunned in their living rooms. Sports analyst Dan Orlovsky actually prayed live on air. Damar Harlin, the defensive cornerback of the Buffalo Bills had suddenly collapsed after making a tackle. A scary scene ensued, and it was soon evident that it was much more than a typical injury. Medical personnel rushed to the scene and administered CPR for nine minutes which felt like an eternity. After being resuscitated on the field, Damar was escorted by ambulance to a hospital in Cincinnati. The report is that he had a cardiac arrest and is now in critical condition. We pray for Damar and his family at this time for his full recovery.
Monday night was a moment–a signal; a moment when players, coaches, and fans stopped. They stopped to pray, think, and reflect on things more important than football. An onlooker said,
“It may be the most powerful moment you’ll ever see on television.”
Life is made up of these poignant moments, inspiring people to make life-changing decisions. Os Guinness and his mentor, Peter Berger, talk of “signals of transcendence” as signals that come from a sovereign God that make us stop suddenly and reconsider the real meaning of life. A signal of transcendence permeates and punctures our worldview for a time; it jolts our thinking. This jolt initiates a desire that there must be something more. For C.S. Lewis, it was a moment of wonder when reading fairytales that ultimately pointed him to the real story of a sovereign God at work. For G.K. Chesterton, in one of the darkest points in his life, it was the beauty of a dandelion revealing to him that though this creation is broken it also has incredible beauty.
For many of us, the recent Covid Pandemic was a signal of transcendence. Death was brought up close to all of us on a daily basis. We avoid thinking about death by staying busy, but the Pandemic forced us to stop. We had to watch, wait, and ponder the fragility of life and how precious family and friends really are.
Signals or moments happen all the time, forcing people to stop, pause and think. I am concerned that in our busyness and our preoccupation with political or cultural issues, we miss precious opportunities to engage people–opportunities to share the only really good news: Jesus, loving us on on the cross, forgiving all sin, taking away shame and guilt and walking beside us through this broken world to ultimately usher us into a new creation beyond our wildest imagination.
These signals are going to come to our family and friends. A moment like Monday night’s football game may be the catalyst for a person to begin thinking of eternal things. Be ready in grace and truth to listen and share. Let’s be sensitive to the signals.
— Jerry McCorkle