Have you been watching the Winter Olympics? The downhill racing, the amazing skimming over moguls, the snowboarders flying and bouncing fast around corners or up and down half-pipes, speed skating, cross country. The abilities and skills of the athletes is something to be admired as are some of the stories of will and tenacity behind some of the competitors.
But what gets me is all the emotion. I mean at every event people are screaming and shouting, waving flags, cheering, and so emotional. Why can’t it all be dignified and orderly, with everyone behaving themselves and remaining seated? Like in church?
I’m joking of course. Cheers, applause, expressions of emotion are aspects of ‘being fully human’ to be celebrated. Which is why God revealed himself in the person of Jesus as one who loves, weeps, rejoices, shows compassion and loves the company of others. It’s also why people who came in contact with Jesus and received his friendship, were healed, or experienced his affirmation responded with joy, excitement, told their friends, jumped around dancing, and more. They would have waved flags, whistled and shouted….
God’s actions through Jesus were worthy of a Gold Medal in a multitude of life events. His courage facing opposition, his patience and forgiveness in the face of unfair lies and indifference, his unconditional love when others betrayed him, his single-minded determination to finish the race despite the excruciating pain of the crucifixion. Finally when he stood alone on the podium in the unexpected wonder of his resurrection he gave all praise to His Father and said with great humility to the crowd…. “I did it for you… so that you can share in my hope and glory – on earth and in heaven.”
Seems to me that’s worthy of an emotional response…. which is why I believe that churches should be gatherings of communities where there is an uninhibited expression of emotion. If we can’t cheer or worship as a church we’re probably not watching or hearing…. because when we see Jesus we can’t help but respond…. 🙂 And if we still insist that we prefer cheering God on our own….. ask how exciting would it be if you were the only one at an Olympic event…. It’s not the same – is it?