This past weekend the Carolina Panthers played the Oakland Raiders. While I am not a die-hard Panthers they were formed when I lived outside of Charlotte, and they are the “local” team.
I found myself rooting for the Raiders.
I realized this sometime during the second half when the Cam and the Panthers made a glorious comeback. But I couldn’t put my finger on why was I rooting for the Raiders.
The Raiders have been completely irrelevant for a decade and living on the east coast I rarely get a chance to watch their games. Why would I even care?
But it occurred to me later: Bo Jackson.
My childhood was spent in Montgomery, AL, during the time when Bo Jackson was doing amazing things at Auburn and was a real life tall-tale piece of folk lore. At the playground during school we would try to run as fast as Bo could, jump over things like Bo would, or come up with the amazing feats Bo had done. And if you haven’t seen the 30 for 30 “You don’t know Bo, the Legend of Bo Jackson,” watch it. Because during the beginning folks share the stories they’d heard or the things they’d seen, that was my childhood.
After Auburn Bo went to play professional football for the Oakland Raiders. I must have been aware of this and kept up with the Raiders while Bo was part of the team.
But here we are nearly THIRTY YEARS after Bo played for the Raiders and I found my heart wanting to root for the team that captured my childhood imagination.
I now think about the things that are capturing my son and daughter’s imagination. What things will they be strangely drawn to as an adult because of the experiences my wife and I are sharing with them now? I don’t know.
But I hope and pray they will find the church a place of comfort as an adult.
In Luke 18 Jesus was teaching to some folks and people began bringing their children up to be blessed and the disciples tried to discourage the parents. Jesus saw this and said in Luke 18:16 “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
Let us welcome the children, and especially welcome those who have wandered far from the church back during this Advent Season.
May all children experience a sense of welcoming and belonging in the Church and discover the Grace and Forgiveness Christ offers to us all. I pray during this Advent season folks experience their hearts strangely warmed by the awesome Love of God.
And here’s that 30 for 30, seriously if you haven’t seen it stop what you’re doing and watch it.