With Fall fast approaching (or at least we hope), comes the promise of flannel, fire and College Football! And, with such a "blessing" just around the corner, I couldn't help but anticipate the upcoming season. I look forward to it every year.
I love that no matter where I travel, no matter what time of the year, that when I see my team's colors flying in a crowd, I can simply greet those colors with a simple fraternity-like greeting, and it'll be reciprocated, as if to say, "you belong!" It's so comforting. It's that much better when I can attend a home game and 90,000+ "of my closest friends," are all cheering in one accord! It's awesome!
I know all the songs, all the history and get goose bumps everytime my team emerges to charge the field! I'm pretty pumped now, just thinking about it; glad to be a part of it!
And, as quickly as I get pumped about this soon coming reality, I fall under remorseful conviction as I read the following verse from Colossians...
"15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."
In church, I also know all the songs, I also know all the history, and yet I hasten to think that I get just as excited to attend it as I do a game. What's wrong with this picture... whats wrong with me?
I can gather with complete strangers and scream till I'm horse for a team in which I don't have one personal relationship, and yet in church, where I have been called family by God Himself, I am not as easily moved! There was a day when greeting one another in the name of Jesus brought this same "fan-like" exhilaration. It long preceded football, and the excitement came while in the midst of immense persecution, you could find another that was being hunted, just like you were. People found true solace in the presence of another person that had left all else to trust Jesus', because that time could've been there last. They enjoyed every minute encouraging and charging one another to keep going. They weren't watching a game, they were in the game! The barbaric reality of a Christian.
What if we cheered for restoration like we do touchdowns? What if we welcomed correction like we do settling for field goals? And, what if the church anticipated gathering together like football fans anticipate the next home game?!
There is a bond larger than school colors, mascots or national titles. It is the bond of 'true love,' the love that Paul addresses in his letter to Colossae. It was paid for by blood and even more intensely barbaric. It is the bond of perfection; the bond of Jesus! Could we, the church, ponder our excitement to gather as One Body, and allow it to rival, and surpass even, the excitement I expressed when addressing a game?!
Like those before us, we're not simply watching a game as Christians, we're in one! It's the only game that actually matters. And, guess what... we're the "visiting team". Love each other and long to be together! Our success demands it.
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.