I am not a regular viewer of Jeopardy.
But the depth of its appeal fascinates me. I was amazed at how many records the show has broken literally over generations! It and it’s stars to resonate with the values of our culture.
So my ears perked up when I heard the reaction to all three contestants being stumped by a simple question related to the words of the “Our Father.” Apparently, I was not the only one.
The silence that stunned Jeopardy
“Jeopardy” fans were stunned. All three contestants failed to answer a question asking them to complete a line of the Lord’s Prayer, the most widely recited prayer in Christianity.
The puzzle, worth $200, read, “Matthew 6:9 says, ‘Our Father, which art in heaven,’ This ‘ be thy name.’”
Finally, host Mayim Bialik revealed the answer: “Hallowed.”
A common reaction among fans seemed to be “None of them even took a guess. I’m really surprised — I thought that would be an easy one!”
Were these three stars possibly a symbol of a shift in culture?
A fluke or a forecast?
Then it hit me! I have recently become increasingly aware that in a supposedly Christian culture even Christians have very little exposure to the fundamental message of Jesus recorded in the scriptures.
As I thought about it, I remembered there has been a dramatic decline in attendance at churches across all denominations.
In the past century or two, most Catholics at least heard brief snippets from the New Testament in their own language. Jesus’ stories caught the most attention.
Could these three gifted people have revealed something about Christian culture being at a turning point? Were these three brilliant people a harbinger of what is happening?
What is to come if people do not know even the prayer that Jesus himself taught?
As the followers of Jesus lived the message of Jesus, they became the message both within the culture of Judaism and then to a wider Gentile word. Although forms varied, they gathered together to listen to the stories in the scriptures. They broke bread together. They struggled to live the Our Father.
Their lives were noticed and impacted the cultures in which they lived. “See, these Christians… how they love one another.” The result was a movement that grew and survived against all odds.
Christians were an illegal religion throughout this period. They didn’t have any church buildings as we know them. Nor youth groups, choirs, seminaries, or even catechisms.
People in surrounding cultures simply saw lives transformed into caring communities. They were attracted by people trying to live as sons and daughters of “Our Father”
What do people see now?
People who are at one another’s throats for all kinds of reasons depending upon which part of political or economic spectrum they lean to. Even within Christian circles, “others” are defined by the color of their skin, the country of origin, language of worship rather tha loving sisters and brothers.
Have we lost the culture of trying to live the Our Father as presented by Jesus’ stories and example?
Do people today see how we live as sons and daughters of Our Father as explained and lived by Jesus Today, do they see people who forgive rather than vilify those who trespass against them? Do they see the body of Christ caring for those regarded as the least among us
Pope Francis and Jeopardy
I am reasonably certain Pope Francis has not watched Jeopardy. However, he has astutely observed, “One could say that today we are not living an epoch of change so much as an epochal change.”
He seems to recognize that without being aware of or living, what we learned from Jesus’ teaching and example, there is no way we can evangelize in the epochal change of culture that is occurring.