Last night an average of 111.3 million Americans watched the Super Bowl. I have to be honest, I went to bed for the game went into overtime and I did not know that the Patriots won until later today.
While I did watch the game, I was blown away by the commercials. Many of which began in development a year ago.
Commentators took their blogs, newspapers, and screens to declare which were the best and the worst. While I do not intend to add to the commentary clutter, some of the commercials gave me the “feels.” They were short films that communicated deep truths that we need at a time such as this.
Born the Hard Way
The beer company Budweiser made a statement regarding the origin of its company. It began when an immigrant came to the United States. It is good to remember our roots, and it is powerful to see that this young man was mistreated simply because of where he came from. One man yells at him, “Go back home!”
All too often the words of Scripture, found in Leviticus 19, falls on deaf ears, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.” Budweiser reminds us that our roots as a nation – as a people – are deeply grounded in the journey to America, with all the pain, heartache, and insults associated with it. We are also reminded that, as people of faith, we are called to welcome and love all our neighbors, even those who are foreign.
“There is one body and one Spirit,” the writer of Ephesians says. The early church had endless debates, debates that continue to this day, about who is accepted and who is not. These debates were seemingly put to rest when Paul wrote, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
The homestay network Airbnb had made a public stance regarding the recent travel ban. Their commercial continued this stance. Their focus was the culture of acceptance. “The world is more beautiful,” the ad stated, “the more you accept.”
84 Lumber left its mark on the Super Bowl commercial playing field with a surprising ad. Fox requested that the company edit the ad, so they placed the full version on their website. The connection with the Budweiser ad is eerily appropriate. While the Budweiser ad reminds that for many of us Americans, our roots are grounded in family members immigrating to this country, the 84 Lumber commercial holds nothing back reminding us of many of those who are attempting that journey today.
The assumption is that the mother and the daughter are Mexicans preparing to leave for their journey to cross the bolder into America. With the ritualized good-bye hug and kiss from the Grandfather, they embark on this dangerous trip, parreled with the construction of a wall.
In a heartbreaking moment, where the daughter shows the mother what she had been doing with all the random scraps she’s been collecting, the mother notices a ray of light. Let’s just say, a door is a better than a wall.
America the Beautiful
These commercials at this time beg the question, “Who are we?” As a people – especially as people of faith – who are we? Are welcoming the stranger? Or are we calling them names and yelling for them to go back? Are we accepting of others and all their diversity? Or are we longing for a time when everyone looked like us? Are we building walls or constructing open doors?
Who are we?
Coca-Cola’s commercial gives an answer. We are America, the beautiful. The well-known song and hymn is sung in various languages, reminding us that as a people we are a melting pot. The pot continues to grow in its diversity. Our differences are blessings.
Interestingly the ad was originally created in 2014, and re-aired by the company during the Super Bowl. A reminder that this conversation, these struggles, are hard and complicated. To have them, we must be like the persistent widow in Luke 13, who does not cease in seeking justice.