Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sports disappoint

I have to give a little credit to my friend Jeff, and his recent post which prompted me to write about this.

I think I've mentioned my wrestling with sports on this blog in the past. It's a love-hate relationship. Except for the Red Wings - all of my favourite sports teams have disappointed me more often than not. It probably began in 1988, when I fell in love with the Boomer Esiason-Ickey Woods Bengals, who lost with only seconds to go in the Super Bowl to Joe Montana's 49ers. Since then, only the Pistons & Red Wings have come through with a championship out of all of my favourite teams. And on a number of occasions, my teams have faltered on the big stage - '08, '07, '06, '05 Pistons, '06 & '08 Tigers, '07 Bears, '07 Wolverines (football), '05 Bengals - just naming the few that were good & blew up for no apparent reason. And then there's the string of ugliness that I've endured with some teams (Bengals except for '05, Tigers except for '06...) And as I reflect on these disappointments and all of the angst and frustration I've felt over these teams, I can honestly see how amazing it is to be so wrapped up and so utterly effected both physically and emotionally by these teams. Which is kinda crazy, 'cause they're the ones making all the money & putting their bodies in the line. I'm just sitting at home watching.

Well, here's what I read this morning:

1) Psalm 146:3ff
"do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, [sports franchises, coaches & athletes] in whom there is no help...Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

2) Hosea 2:16-17
"On that day, says the LORD, you will call me, 'My husband,' and no longer will you call me, 'My Baal.' For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more."

The first one is obvious, right? Where is my hope/joy/excitement? If it's in the wrong place, I'll fail. There's only 1 right place and that's the LORD. Interestingly enough, this ties in perfectly with Hosea. Because Baal literally means "Lord" - that is the same language that the Canaanites used to describe their God. So, it's literally saying "You will no longer call me 'my Lord' - you will call me 'My husband' - because I'll remove that kind of talk from your lips." There is indeed no other Lord than THE LORD and yet we all create Lords for ourselves, don't we? I certainly do. I certainly bow my head and my knee and give these things authority over me (over my emotions, over my actions...) But God doesn't want a Lord-subject relationship. God desires an intimate relationship like that of a marriage, where each person is moving towards the same thing, not where one is taking from the other or demanding something of the other. The truth is, it's only in this kind of relationship, with God, that we will be truly fulfilled. And every time I sit in front of the TV and cringe at what's going on on the field (or court or ice) by whatever team I've bowed my knee to at that moment, I'm quite sure that I can only be fulfilled in God...

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