Ok, so I might be a sports fan. In fact, I might be a rabid sports fan, especially this time of year, when it's football season. Have I said this before? And do you think there's something wrong with me that I love watching boys (er, I suppose they might be called men, or even giants in many cases!) in pads and helmets line up and on a certain count, ram each other as hard as they can. Sometimes we watch shows where animals with horns back up and drive full speed into each other, and the sound of their horns can make me wince. Yet, these men on a carefully kept field, in full view of a stadium of people, do exactly the same thing, so that one of them, lined up behind their human shield, one who is often much smaller than those hitters, can carry a ball as fast as his very quick feet can carry him. And I'm compelled by it. Even as I write it out this way, I'm compelled by it.
J calls me a fair weather fan, because I can't bear to watch teams I care about lose. I honestly can't bear to watch the university team from my hometown right now, because the games are so dismal, and I want so badly for them to do well. But I'll watch to the last second a game that is close, no matter who is playing, no matter whether I've rooted against such a team for most of my natural life. And.. there are some teams I root against--like USC and Notre Dame. I told J this afternoon that I don't care who beats either one, unless they're playing each other, then I wish they could both lose.
Today, as I watched the Washington-USC game, I thought of what a gorgeous afternoon it was for football, sunny and warm, in a stadium with a beautiful view of a beautiful lake, and the action on the field went in favor of the home team, which meant the crowds were enthusiastic, full of life and hope, and in the last moment, when a pass was completed and a field goal made with mere seconds left, such raucous joy that as soon as the final seconds ticked off, that crowd rushed the field. From my seat at my sewing machine, next to the TV, those people looked like a swarm of purple carpenter ants with the nationally touted quarterback the center of the swarm...but I quickly brushed off that comparison.
Because what it really made me think of--this long awaited win against a national power house--was the kind of joy worship can be--will be--when the final victory is won, and we come near the throne, and the crown and the Holy crowned One. We love to gather to cheer on our team, but really, shouldn't we feel just as anticipatory, as faithful, hopeful, lively and absolutely full of joy when we come together in our places of worship? Worship, after all, is what we get to do, not what we have to do. We--merely human, definitely needy, always the losers (without Him, anyway)--get to call on Him, sing to Him, and believe that this worship makes a difference, not only in the moment, but in eternity. So imagine what it would be like to come together in the presence of the Living God, to raise hands and hearts and make a noise as loud and boisterous as in any stadium anywhere in this country. Imagine if we really expected Him to be there, expected Him to not merely appear be participate in that hour, in our prayers, our praise, our everything.
PS. Apparently, while I was busy being a fair-weather fan and NOT watching my home-team, they managed to win. Go Cougs!