I found this picture on my phone as a screen shot from December 3, 2017. To be honest, I’m not sure why I took the screen shot. Something about it struck me. As I was going through my photos on my phone to see what to delete and what not to (I’ve gotten kicked outta the cloud because I have too many photos on my phone) I came across it. But it struck me about believing in something bigger than yourself.
You see, if you are a fan of a Chicago sports team, you get used to being broken hearted. Yes, the teams win sometimes. And sometimes they’re just down right great. (And other times they hit the pylon five times and once when you needed the three points to win the playoff game…but I digress). Sometimes the Chicago sports team of your heart wins (like the Cubs did with their first World Series win since 1918) and most of the time they lose. Like big time lose (ah-hem… Jay Cutler era).
Regardless, Chicago sports fans are die hard fans. They go to games in the freezing cold at Soldier Field, which is an outside stadium. They dress up in regalia that shows their support. They yell and scream for their team. They are die hard and will fight you if you say the Cubs are awful or that the Sox are better than the Cubs (This is from personal experience y’all). There’s something about being at the new Comiskey Park (actually US Cellular Field, but they have a statue of Charles Comiskey there).
When you go to a game for a Chicago sports team, there’s a fervor there. All people wearing the same team logos are your friends for life for those next few hours. Everyone gets along who are of the same persuasion of their team of choice. It’s beautiful how people get dressed up, get excited, get into the groove and are filled with joy and awe as their favorite players hit the field or court. And they comfort one another when their team eventually loses. (Again, the “doink” of the ball on the pylon…we comforted each other then).
There’s something religious going on here. Something amazing happening. It’s almost what church is supposed to be all about. Yeah, I said it, almost what church is supposed to be all about.
Don’t tell me these people aren’t having a religious experience out there.
This goes beyond just Chicago sports fans. This hits hard when you watch any sporting event. When something goes well and great, people who don’t know each other are high-fiving one another, hugging each other, patting each other on the back. And when things go badly (and they do), they console one another. They talk to one another. They express themselves to one another–“Did you see that when they did…” “I can’t believe that just happened…” It’s church all around. Just not with a steeple. Just not with pews. Just not with Jesus. Ouch. Jesus Juke I think.
The church needs to get past itself. It needs to learn something from these sporting events. It isn’t about the music. No one goes to a sporting event to hear the music. It isn’t about the announcers at the stadium or the color commentary on the TV. You can turn off the sound at home and still be enthralled in the game. You can go to the game and still be into it despite what’s going on. No. It’s about the connections to the team. It’s about the connections to the fellow fans. It’s about being one together cheering on Da Bears or whomever you choose to cheer (though I do feel bad for Lion’s fans).
Church is supposed to transcend music and preachers and buildings and preferences. It’s about being the people of God, the body of Jesus Christ, in the world together. It’s about supporting one another during the good and the bad. It’s about developing bonds with one another through the power of the Holy Spirit. It goes beyond the event of Sunday morning and continues into the week.
I will admit, I have my Bears Jersey, my Bears sweatshirt, my Bears T-shirt. I have my regalia to dress up in support of my team even in the off season, even when they aren’t playing in the play offs or have a bi-week. How often do we as members of the body of Christ do this during the week? How often do we go past Sunday with when we wear Christ on our sleeves but not so during the week?
A sporting event can be compared to a religious experience. So should church. But more so, church should move forward in being better than a sporting event and a religious experience. How can we as the church, the body of Christ, do better in being the church so that we can become as enthusiastic about daily worship and devotion as those at these sporting events?