Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“I truly believe we have the best fans in the world. It’s like a home game when we go on the road.” -Kenny Pickett
The above words were uttered by the Pittsburgh quarterback after a game in Inglewood, California, at which thousands of Steeler fans filled the stands and took away any semblance of “home field advantage” for the Los Angeles Rams.
I have no way of knowing how many fans traveled all the way to California. Truth is, there could be a sizable number of Steeler fans in the Los Angeles area. However, whether they incurred the inconvenience and expense of travel matters little, passionate support of their team was on display. And, according to a key member of that team, it made a difference.
Now, when I see enthusiastic Steeler fans dressed in all their regalia, waving terrible towels, shouting at the top of their voices, and going to great expense/lengths just to enjoy that 3 hour experience… I begin to wonder, how might we engender that kind of passion in worship?
I am not suggesting that worship needs to be raucous or disorderly, I am simply suggesting that it be driven and fueled by a similar kind of passion.
For those of you who think I have teetered into cheesiness, I beg to differ. When a sports fan attends a game to cheer on their team, they are cheering their favorite players, all in the hope of extending adulation and encouragement. We even wear our favorite player’s jersey to show our support. All the better if those players and that team bring home the win.
When we enter worship, we are quite literally heaping adulation on our glorious Triune God. This is quintessentially what worship is all about; praise and thanksgiving. But there is more. When we bow our heads in prayer; we begin to express heartfelt concern for our neighbors in need as well. In a way, we are rooting for God and pulling for our neighbors all at the same time. We understand that the blessing of passionate worship extends to persons who might not even be in the building.
On top of that, I have to say, whether you are joining through the livestream or are in person. Worship is certainly worth the price of admission. There is a certain kind of energy and joy that grows out of being together in those powerful moments when our voices are joined in unison and we have a shared intention.
The only real difference is this: when you go to the Steelers game, the outcome is very much still up in the air. When you enter the sanctuary you are celebrating a victory already won. Our God has triumphed and reigns as everlasting champion over sin, death, and the devil. Let the celebration continue!
Question for reflection: What are some of the creative ways that we let others know that God is #1 on our lives?
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, in those moments of great struggle, when our spirits are at their lowest, when it appears that all the light has been quenched and the darkness is on the verge of vanquishing us, remind your faithful team… it is precisely then that you will make a dramatic comeback. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.