Controversy has erupted following Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII, where the Seattle Seahawks won their first NFL championship. The controversy has nothing to do with Peyton Manning’s inability to lead the Broncos to their third title, but everything to do with an ad that played during the game.
The ad in question did not feature anything vulgar. It did not promote anything too risqué for children to watch. It wasn’t even in support of a company or product that would make you uncomfortable.
The “controversial” ad was developed by Coca-Cola. In it children from various cultures sung “America the Beautiful,” while images of young children were seen playing across the screen. For some, primarily those who believe America’s borders should be closed to other nationalities and cultures, it was an offensive ad.
I find that disappointing. In fact, I find the entire controversy disappointing.
In the ad I seen an expression of God’s kingdom displayed beautifully for all to see and celebrate. God’s kingdom is a vast expression of creativity. Every person – from every culture – reflects God’s image, because we were each made in the likeness of God to reflect the Lord’s love.
Too often, we attempt to limit the reality that we were made in God’s image to have that image only as a reflection of those who “look like us.” When we do, we place a barrier between us and God’s humanity and creation. Nothing should separate us from the fact that God’s love was poured out in each person and is reflected in many different and beautiful ways.
Thus, we are all God’s children. All of us. None of us are more of God’s children than the other. We are all equal in God’s eyes, no matter if you are an American, a Hispanic, an African, an Asian, an European, or a Native American.
We are all in this world together and we must be willing to embrace this reality in our acceptance of those who come different cultures. Our embrace of the other allows us to learn more about ourselves, and also about the God of all creation. That is because we are able to take in more of God’s image and how it has been reflected in different ways and traditions.
There should be nothing controversial about the Coke ad. In fact, it should be honored as something beautiful. A recognition that God’s love is poured out in many ways and is reflected in so many people.