Everyone DOES Get a Trophy
May 17

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been somewhat addicted to the NBA Playoffs. I don’t really have a team that I’m cheering for and I didn't watch many games during the regular season, but there’s something about the playoffs that every year sucks me in like a tractor-beam! I love the drama and the struggle. I love when the underdog comes from behind to win, and it’s always exciting to see who moves on to the next round and ultimately to the NBA Finals. 

On Sunday, there was an elimination game between the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers. The game was tied with just a few seconds left. Toronto passed the ball to their best player, who dribbled to the corner, and heaved up what looked like a desperation shot from the corner of the court. It arced high in the air over a defender, bounced off the rim three or four times, and then it went in. Toronto won and would move on to the next round. But what was even more exciting than the play, was the reaction from the crowd. The game was being played in Toronto, so most of the crowd was cheering for The Raptors, and when the ball went in, EVERYONE’S arms went into the air in triumph. It’s a moment every kid dreams of when shooting hoops in their driveway. Three, two, one...and it’s good! They win! There was an overwhelming sense of joy and victory that swept over the entire arena. It seemed like everyone was elated. But there was a team that didn't win. And there were probably some fans in the crowd who were cheering for Philly, and after the game a camera caught a glimpse of a 76er’s player who was overwhelmed with emotion at the recent defeat that he just experienced. As exciting as it was for some, it was just as painful for others. Ever since I was a kid, I hated those images of the losing team and their fans. That look of overwhelming disappointment and for some, tears filling up in their eyes. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone won...

Maybe this is why I like our (ELCA Lutheran) understanding of Easter, Heaven, and God’s love. Maybe this is why I love my church’s tradition of saying “All means ALL” (which started long before I moved to Georgia.) There aren’t those who God doesn’t love, or who God has intentionally excluded from the community. We believe that we are ALL God’s children and that we ALL equally receive the great gifts that God so desperately wants to share with us. Everyone gets a trophy! With joy, victory, and celebration we can (and should) all raise our hands in triumph, like they did in that arena up in Toronto, because this is a victory that is for all of us. What has been conquered is death, darkness, and evil, and this is a victory that isn’t for a select few. This is for all of us, this is for all of creation. With that knowledge, we can all raise our hands in celebration because of God’s victory. A victory that we, and everyone is a part of!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris

Last Published: May 17, 2019 1:53 PM