The sounds. The smells. The sights. The emotions. The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat.
The cluttering of footsteps as fans are herded into the stadium. The scent of bratwursts and mouth-watering burgers penetrating the appetites of all in the vicinity. The overwhelming glimpse of one of college footballs greatest and most historic sanctuaries, towering over you as you stare up at its beauty. The energy of thousands of devoted fans whose hearts literally beat for the Big Red. The consuming sense of pride and honor when the team marches off the field victorious. And the heart ache when they collapse in defeat.
This is game day at Memorial Stadium.
There is almost something spiritual about game day in Lincoln, NE. Now as a pastor, I know I need to be careful when I say things like this. But to me there are very few places or events that I have been to where are I have felt such an overwhelming sense of purpose and devotion directed towards one epicenter. You can literally feel the sense of pride on your skin as you walk throughout the stadium. You feel like you are a part of something bigger, and yet something so small because you are all focused on one goal: victory.
I have been a devoted Husker fan all of my life. It has been a huge part of who I am. There are few things that get me as pumped up or as beat down as does watching a Nebraska game. Some may say that I have a problem, and maybe I do, because it brings into discussion the idea of worshipping something other than God. Now most of you know that I love Jesus more than anything, and that I truly try to live my life for him. But do I get as jacked or as devastated over the things he tries to convict my heart of? I really don’t think I do. I don’t believe that I am at that point in my faith and in my walk with Christ.
Some of you may suggest, “Well why don’t you stop watching Nebraska and focus on more on Jesus with your life?” But I do not think that is the problem. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a fan of a sports team as long as you don’t make it the focal point of your reason for living. What I DO think it is about is where I am at with my relationship with God. See faith isn’t about an experience, or about a feeling. It is about a person. Faith is about the thing that you have faith in. In my case, it is Jesus (...and Husker football). I need to become more in tune and in love with Christ in my life so that I can be fully on board with the way the Spirit is trying to move me. How can I hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance if I am not really listening? (Especially since I am a guy! We can only focus on one thing at a time. Ladies, you might be okay in this area!)
The conclusion that I want to draw is this: Nebraska Cornhuskers are the greatest college football team in the history of sports....oh wait I forgot what the purpose of this blog was....awkward.....What I meant was that we all need to focus on the person we claim to have faith in. We need to fall in love with him every day. We need to focus on his teachings, on his example, and on his sacrifice. Why can’t the church have the same feel as Memorial Stadium does on game day? Well it can! But the people attending it need to be so amazed by the one being worship in the church that they feel that same kind unity among one another. What would our worship services look like if we did this?
I would love to experience the sensations that would come along with that.
The sounds. The smells. The sights. The emotions. The thrill of victory. And the understand that we never have to feel the agony of defeat.