Do you remember John Madden?
Back in the day, Madden coached the Oakland Raiders from 1969 – 1978. This extends back to the days of the old American Football League. He led the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI in 1977.
Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 for his coaching prowess.
He was also a football television commentator for years, spanning all four networks: ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.
One could describe John Madden as a blue-collar guy. He had a simple, common, relatable, easy-to-understand vocabulary.
As a broadcaster, John’s calling card was a single word: BOOM! The word was delivered with great emphasis when he spoke it.
He might have said: “the running back saw a hole momentarily open up, but it was quickly plugged by Cortez Kennedy, who separated him from the ball. BOOM! Cortez just tore it away from him with a vicious hit.”
BOOM! A word like that really gets your attention, doesn’t it?
I wish we had John Madden read scripture at our church now and then. I can think of some key passages that could sorely use his gifted delivery.
For example, in Mark, Chapter 3: “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water [BOOM!] he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.”
In other words, pay attention to how important God’s action was here.
Another example is in Chapter 15: “Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was [BOOM!] torn in two, from top to bottom.”
Pay attention: This was a sign that the temple could not contain God.
Certainly, Madden would not read those passages as we might.
We would likely utter them with a voice akin to the gentle action of separating hot, freshly-baked dinner rolls, politely divided for guests at the table.
Madden, on the other hand, with a single word, would raise the roof and startle anyone who ventured to nod off in the pews.
Every pastor would love a John Madden in their church. It’s just an irrefutable fact.
When he would read those two passages, the word BOOM would emphasize the impact that those events had on our lives.
So, remember John Madden when we read them.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.