Is Washington Defeated?

It’s not everyone who gets Ga-Ga about sports, but lots of us do. I’m not sure why. Here are a few suggestions:

  • we have nothing better to do
  • competition boils the blood
  • a proclivity for getting attached
  • community pride
  • love sports like professional wrestling and hi alai
  • the spectacle and pagentry
  • we miss the gladiatorial days of blood sport

Maybe.

HOUSTON ASTROS

The Houston Astros are in the World Series with the Washington Nationals. Houstonians thought we would smoke the Nationals four games to none. We didn’t.

The Nationals came to Houston and won the first two games, and the second game was a total blow out. The sporting world was stunned. I was. It was crazy. The Nationals were unbothered by our Hall of Fame pitching and unfazed by our rowdy Texas crowds. They flew back confident that with three games in their home park they would win the Series. They didn’t.

It was Houston’s turn to stun the sporting world by winning all three games. Two of them were total blow outs. The Astros return to Houston for the final two games. We believe one is all they need, the next one.

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THE FANS

People get a little nuts in professional sports playoffs. They throw things at the opposing players. They boo. They shout profanities. They yell ugly words and say tacky things. Wow, tacky things, sounds rough.

It’s all in fun, right? Sure it is. Of course it is because it’s only a game. So hearing people shout, “Let’s kill em,” shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

THE CROWDS

People get carried away when they are upset, angry and jealous. In France they shouted, “Off with his head, off with his head.” In the old west the crowd shouted, “Lynch him, string him up.” In more modern times, “Gas him” or “Give the Chair.” In ancient Rome the crowd voted for death with a thumbs up or thumbs down.

In Jerusalem, with Jesus on trial, they shouted, “Crucify him, crucify him.” Was it all in good fun? Only a game? Was the crowd just a little rowdy?

No, they were genuinely riled up. Not for sport, or politics, or food or human rights. It was about religion. The craziest stuff of all happens when people are consumed with religious hate and bent on religious violence.

Riots, ethnic cleanings, genocide, inquisitions, violent crusades, murders, and lynchings  are but a few examples of religious fanaticism.

In crucifying Jesus his opponents believed they delivered a total blow out. They didn’t.

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IN CLOSING

I like fan fanaticism. It makes the game more interesting, the sport more appealing, and the playoffs more intense.

Religious fanaticism? Well, no thank you.

 

A Fist Full of a Dollar

Last  Sunday morning, in 2nd service, I was holding a basket for our children’s collection, to gather funds that bless our kids in Haiti.

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THE STORY

A little boy, I think he is 3 and one of my favorites, came up to give his dollar. He stood with his hand poised over the basket but was having trouble letting go. Others were waiting so his mom coaxed him to drop it in. But he wouldn’t. Then he happened to glance at one of the screens and saw himself “on TV.” That was his moment!

It was then I noticed that he had folded his dollar into a kind of airplane. He wasn’t gripping it due to its monetary value, nope, he just wasn’t ready to let go of his plane. But finally, he gave it a safe landing, smiled, and walked off holding his mom’s hand. It was the sweetest thing ever!

Basket of Dollars

I suppose we all hold on to something, to our…

  • memories
  • the past
  • fears and anxieties
  •  kids
  • pride
  • old letters
  • trust in the Lord
  • stuff

NOW: A FISHING STORY

Simon was preparing his nets for the next night of fishing, he was a commercial fisherman, and had just spent all night catching nothing. Then Jesus came by and asked him to take his boat to deep water and let his nets down. Simon didn’t want to. He knew successful fishing only happened at night. He argued a bit but reasoned that Jesus was an important rabbi, and so, he let them down and instantly they became full of fish. He shouted for his partners to bring their boat to help. When the nets were emptied both boats were overflowing with fish and looked as if they might sink.

Fishing Boat of Galillee

AN INVITATION

When they returned to shore, Jesus invited Simon to go with him and become one of his disciples, and he did. Simon let go of the greatest catch of fish in the history of the Sea of Galilee, or so I’m saying. He walked away from a boat full of “dollars” to walk on with Jesus.

Jesus didn’t fill the nets so Simon could make a killing at the market. He filled them so Simon would know that the Messiah had come, that Emanuel had arrived, that the long awaited Anointed One had appeared.

Simon could see that there was something more important than fish or money.

Peter and Jesus With Fish

TO CLOSE

We know that Simon was Simon Peter, the Apostle who preached on the Day of Pentecost and helped thousands to get saved. Peter demonstrated that a connection with Jesus was worth all he had.

And the little boy and his airplane? Well, he demonstrated an innocence and wide eyed wonder that made children the all time favorite of Jesus our Lord. Jesus loves the little children indeed.

Shalom