Matthew 14:34-36

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. Matthew 14:34-36

Today will be a big day in Houston. The Astros finally won a World Series and today there will be a big parade through town. They even called off school today so that families can join the festivities. (I remember skipping school back in the 1960’s to watch the World Series when they used to play day games. Go Twins!)

Kelley and I watched all the playoff games this year. They were the only games we watched all year. They were also the only televised sporting events I can ever remember watching with Kelley. She did crack me up though – she immediately spoke of the Astros in the most personal of terms. “Are we ahead?”How are we doing?” I poked a little fun at her until she reminded me that she is a native Houstonian and that the Astros have always been her hometown team. I have to give her that. She also uses “we” for the Texas A&M football team even though she pretty much still doesn’t quite get how the actual game works – but she is an alum and thus has earned the right to use “we”.

Much has been said over the past weeks about how sports can excite and unify a city. Since Houston is one of those places most devastated by the recent hurricanes it is a touching story to know that we got a little diversionary space while watching the Astros fight through the playoffs, and now an emotional pickup to celebrate their win.

I DO value sports, maybe too much. I DO believe that the lessons that kids learn by playing sports can benefit them for a lifetime. I DO believe there is something real about team spirit, something laudatory about doing your best and working hard and playing to win. But there is also a dark side to all of that, just as there is a dark side to everything.

For every coach that teaches her girls that there is no “I” in team, there is another one who points out that there IS an “I” in win. There lies the tension.

Does the fact that the Astros won the World Series this year mean every other team is a bunch of losers? Of course not. Does it mean that Houston is suddenly the best and most important city in the world? Of course not. Does it mean that all of those people who will line the streets today for the big parade have actually accomplished anything that matters in the real world? No. It is fun but it isn’t a whole lot more than that.

Someone once said that people are quick to jump on a band wagon and equally quick to jump off a sinking ship. It’s true. People are fickle that way. Houston is suddenly full of people who might not have watched a single game all year but now cry “I have loved the Astros my whole life and it is the greatest thing in the world to know they are champions!” Fickle.

So it was the Jesus sometimes drew quite the crowds. They came from all around to get the goodies that he promised. Oh, just to see him! Oh, just to touch him!, Oh, just to brush up against his robe! They showed up in droves. They lined the streets. A parade in every town.

But people are fickle. Today they line up to cheer him, hoping to get something good from him. Another day would come when they would line up to mock him, to humiliate him. From band wagon to sinking ship.

Don’t let the crowds fool you. What matters most about Jesus won’t always attract attention nor will it attract much support. But it is the hope of the world.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, we come to you with our hopes and our hurts. We come to you seeking your wisdom and your guidance. You are our champion, our Savior, our Comforter. You help us make sense of the world. May your eyes be our eyes, may your heart by our heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Matthew 14:34-36”

  1. Dave Armstrong Says:

    ” But it is the hope of the world.” I agree!! Meaningful devotion!!

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