I’m a huge college football fan! Michigan Wolverine’s. Go Blue! So, ESPN is broadcasting their CollegeGame Day from Fargo tomorrow. It is very cool. I’m a big fan of the show. So I had to go downtown tonight to see the set. I’m not crazy enough to go down tomorrow morning. Besides, I like to watch it on t.v.! It’s a cool show for college football fans. I’d show you pictures from tonight, but I still haven’t figured out how to get them here…so you’ll have imagine me standing in front of the set, with lot’s of other people.
It is awesome that there are such things as sports to entertain us and give us a diversion once in a while. A lot of time, resources and money goes into these things. We spend a lot of time, resources and money participating in these things. I’ll admit it, I love it.
Yet, you must admit the amount of time, energy and resources we devote to games and entertainment is interesting. I love that College GameDay is being broadcast from downtown Fargo. I love downtown Fargo. But there is another reason I think the choice of downtown is great. It offers a contrast to the person “with eyes to see and ears to hear.”
Yes, even in Fargo you encounter the homeless hanging around a television set and equipment that is hard to even guess the value of. It is amazing to think that the set is only a block away from the Salvation Army that served free meals this evening while the rest of us wandered Broadway to see the spectacle. While there tonight I saw a man apparently reacting to a substance of one kind or another going berserk. He stopped when a police officer holding a weapon of some sort commanded him to get down on the ground.
Yes, it is a reason to party and have a great time. This all is a reason to celebrate, College GameDay and a successful college football program. Celebrate safely, and then perhaps take a moment to reflect on the realities of life. For many it is not a game. There is no diversion from the burden of mental illness or addiction. There is little escape from the hunger in the belly and the cycle of despair that seems inescapable. Even for many who celebrate by participating in GameDay, tailgating and the game, the brief escape from the emptiness of life, lasts about as long as the first half of a football game, and then the reality of the hangover sets in. We look in the mirror and looking back is the same person with a spiritual whole in his heart and a search for something that will actually make sense of this whole endeavor of the game of life.
The older I get the more my heart bleeds for our broken world, even as I struggle through my own issues and life. Somehow these days I see differently. I see God’s grace even in the most unusual places. In the face of a homeless man. A woman under the influence. The eyes of the lonely and afraid. The pain of the mentally ill. The despair of the addict. And I hear the ringing words of Jesus in my ears, “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'” Matthew 25:37-39 NIV.
I can’t wait for tomorrow. I have a spot reserved on the couch. Game day! Bison game in the afternoon. Michigan in the evening. It will be awesome. But I know it will not fill me. Losing doesn’t bother me any more… it’s just a game. It will quickly be gone and another one will start. And life will go on, and meaning and purpose we will seek. Don’t seek it in a football game, a nationally televised event, a bottle, a hit, a touch or in anything else but in a God who has created and redeemed life and who is the only one who can fill that hole. Perhaps this weekend we should spend as much time serving the least of these as we do cheering on the big boys in pads. Go Blue!
See you at the Lighthouse.