|Image Source: Kansas City Star|
Last night, the laundry sat in a pile in the middle of my bed. The soup I made for supper was left to congeal in the pot still on the stove. I was busy. Busy glued to my laptop, and the seventh game of the World Series.
I'll be honest, I am not the most faithful Cubbies fan. I don't watch every game. I don't even have a Cubs cap anymore. And I've really never been much of a sports-watcher. That's why my poor dear husband - who isn't a sports guy himself- was a little confused by my instant dedication to this game.
Thankfully, he's patient and he's also used to me flaking out on my housework and getting emotional about people I've never met. And he's also very good at reading between the lines. He knew it wasn't just about a baseball game. And while I didn't have to explain myself to him, thinking about why this game resonated with me- with so many of us, really- made me realize that baseball is a lot like faith.
Maybe this is something that the sports lovers know already, but for me, watching the Cubs win last night was an almost religious experience. And I think it just may be because God designed us this way. He designed us to long for...
A Part of Something BiggerMy Facebook feed filled up so fast yesterday evening. I found myself talking with people I haven't been in contact with in years. Even strangers- random friends of friends- chatted with me, held their breath with me, as we shared the excitement of the game.
We all find that wonderful sense of unity, of belonging, when we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
And you know? There were some players out there who could have done some things differently. I don't agree with all the decisions the coach made. But despite that, they're still my team. We have the same goal.
And shouldn't the church be the same way? We don't always agree, but when we focus on the One who is bigger than us all, we realize we're all on the same team. We all mess up, or make bad choices, or don't do what's best for this community of ours, but we have the same goal. We're in this together.
A LegacyMy very first experience with the Cubs was at my grandmother's house. My fan-dom is nothing at all compared to her dedication to her team. I remember her commentary- not so much what she said, but the fact that she knew everything about the team and the players. The eyes of this little feisty lady lit up with every run. Passion.
My dear aunt has that same passion. She was the one who took me to Wrigley to watch games. We sat and stood and cheered and sang and did the seventh inning stretch. And gosh, I loved it- partially because of the experience itself, and partially simply because I got to share the experience with her.
And as I watched the Cubs win the World Series last night, I wasn't just watching a baseball team. I was watching our baseball team. My family's team. I knew that a few hundred miles away, Grandma and my aunts and uncles and so many of my friends were watching the same game, cheering for the same team, biting their nails when they announced the rain delay right before the start of the extra inning.
Isn't faith a little of the same? Not only do I claim what I believe because I've experienced it personally, but also through the legacy of those around me. I am blessed to be part of a family of faith- from my parents and grandparents, and also from the non-related "family" members who have poured themselves out to serve and mentor me. Faith is a legacy.
A Place of HopeAh, Cubbies. You've had us hoping for so long.
We've been saying it for decades- "We'll just have to wait for next year!"
Being a fan, of baseball or of any sport, I'd imagine, brings people to a place of hope. We hope our team will win, we hope this is the year. And in a world where it feels dangerous to hope, sports teams are some of the last remaining places where people can find it.
As we get closer and closer to Advent, the season of waiting in hope, I can't help bit think of the anticipation of the Israelites. They held out hope for the Messiah for generations. Maybe this was the year, they thought, through building and war and exile and rebuilding, through judges and kings and occupation. And then finally, finally, their hopes were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.
Seeing hope fulfilled- its a powerful thing. And it's probably why we're overcome with celebration when a long-term losing streak ends, and why this game was such a big deal, and why I cried when they won. Hope is a powerful thing.
So yeah, all right, I realize it's just a game (and a good one! What great teams! Cleveland should be very proud).
I know that winning the World Series won't solve all the world's problems, or even Chicago's problems.
But for a little while last night, many of us got to be a part of something bigger, live out a legacy, and have our hope fulfilled.
Go, Cubs, go!
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