United We Stand by Marty Hale at www.martyhale.org

United We Stand

Soccer Fever
I carry with me a virus I caught while living in Mexico. Its effects are felt every four years during the month of June. The other 47 months between that time I rarely feel compelled to forsake sleep and meals (if necessary) to watch soccer matches. I am of course referring to the World Cup soccer tournament currently going on in Brazil. Life in Mexico comes to a grinding halt when its national team is playing a soccer match. When you are living among millions of people in a bustling city, the contrast is striking. Any appointment you think you might have had will have been rescheduled. Audible cheers can be heard in all neighborhoods of the city. The emotional well being of the whole nation on the feet (I can’t really say in the hands of) of their most talented soccer players. The country unites behind its team and is focused on a common enemy.

While the level of devotion has not quite reached those heights here in the U.S., there is a definite increase in the awareness of our nations soccer team. I hear more and more people talking about how our team is faring. Chalk it up to marketing if you like, but its hard to deny that as a country, we are united behind our team. With each round survived by our men’s soccer team, our enthusiasm grows.

Now you may just be thinking, “What does the World Cup have to do with the usual content of this blog? I am so glad you asked! From the beginning of creation it has been God’s intention for humanity to live connected to one another in community. Observing Adam, God commented that it was not good for him to be alone and created Eve. Together, they were made to experience life with God. The same is still true for us today. While space and solitude are necessary to hear from God, our time alone leads us to connect with others. Ideally we find this level of community in the church which is meant to be a spiritual family, not a religious institution.

If we are able to come together and unite because of the game of soccer, surely we can unite around following Jesus. Surely we can connect and encourage one another to remain in the faith. In the final analysis, it is not just a good idea, it is completely essential. Our common enemy would have us live isolated, disconnected lives. When we are dominated by anger, fear and shame, we seek to avoid rather than connect. Jesus is the one who is able cleanse every stain and heal every hurt. He then adds us to His body which is the church. We need each other! Go Team!


Marty Hale

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