I am amazed and perplexed in one sense that it has been since February that I wrote in this blog. In another sense, I can easily understand how the busyness of life and the passage of time put three months in between this writing and the last. Nevertheless, today's blog post has been on my mind since November 2008.
Yes, in November, that cultural event that happens annually in the state bearing King George's name took place once again. Georgia and Georgia Tech squared off in battle on the football field. For the first time in eight seasons, Georgia Tech triumphed, and I lost a bet. No, no money changed hands. I lost a friendly bet with our Minister to Students, Brad Groce. I was sure with Stafford and Moreno playing for the Bulldogs that I was sure to win this wager. But a few Sundays after Tech pulled off the upset, I had to pay my debt to Brad.
My debt was this...to wear a Georgia Tech jersey while I preached the morning message during our 9:45 a.m. worship service. What could have been an act of disgrace as a loyal Georgia fan actually turned into fun. You see, the jersey I wore belongs to one of our members, Scott Blair. Scott is the kick-off, punting, and field-goal ace of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. We have cheered him on since the days that he played for our local Yellow Jackets here at Calhoun High School. It was an honor to wear his number and his actual game jersey while preaching.
Deep down inside of me there is still a high school football player who wishes he could have played college football. So it was fun and exciting to put on a real college football jersey while doing what I do best nowadays which is preaching the morning message for Calhoun First United Methodist Church.
I was reminded while wearing the jersey of two things. First, worship should always be joyous and fun. We gather at church, not to mourn the loss of a Savior who died, but to celebrate the Savior who died and rose again to live forevermore. We, like King David, are called to sing with joy, laugh with happy hearts, and dance to God's tune for our lives. Second, just as I put-on a football jersey to preach, God has called us to "put-on" Christ - His love and His character - each day that we live. We are to clothe ourselves with Christ and represent His presence in our midst.
The Sunday after the Tech win (and Bulldog loss) could have been a day of humiliation for me. In the same way, our lives can be filled with shame and humiliation. But through the grace of Jesus Christ, we can live with victory and wear the jersey of the winning team with pride knowing that we all win with Jesus.