A coffee bar in Naples, Italy, features an altar dedicated not to the Madonna but to Maradona. As in Diego Maradona, the retired soccer player.
The owner explains: “For us, Maradona is more than a
man. He’s a god. We Neapolitans love soccer and live for soccer. We can never
forget what he did for us.” The altar displays what is claimed to be a
strand of Maradona’s hair inside a rotating, transparent box.
Maradona led Napoli to its only two Italian league titles in
1987 and 1990, plus the 1989 UEFA Cup. Since Napoli had never won anything
significant before his arrival, he was treated as a savior. “We saw with
our own eyes the miracles he created,” the bar owner claims.
Down the street from the bar, you can find a figurine of Maradona for sale alongside figures of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. The city’s soccer stadium is revered as well. A former player notes, “In Naples, football is like a religion, and the Stadio San Paolo is the church. . . . Sometimes, football feels like it is the only thing that matters.”
The lure of transactional religion
One of Bob Dylan’s songs says, “You’re gonna have to
serve somebody / Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord / But you’re
gonna have to serve somebody.”
We were created by God for relationship with him. As a
result, every culture known to history has worshiped something or someone. When
I lead study tours to Israel, we always stop at Megiddo and look out over the
valley of Armageddon. Then we note the nearby Canaanite altar that dates to
If we do not worship and serve the one true King, we will
worship and serve pretenders to his throne. It might be a star athlete, a
celebrity musician or actor, a politician, or a wealthy business leader.
But when we worship someone other than God, we’re really
Soccer fans in Napoli worship Maradona because doing so
causes them to remember when their team was great and…
WHAT DO YOU THINK?- We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
If you are not a Christian, and would like to become a Christian. Simply say - "LORD Jesus, thank you for forgiving me of my SINs, today I am deciding to follow you. Accept me into your family, in Jesus name I pray. Amen "
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