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    CPR Reflection: Football and a Little R&R

    The Story of Everything, Chapters 4-5 February 5, 2018 Jude St. John
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    The CPR reading schedule is rolling along. If you’re reading one book with us—The Imperfect Disciple—this is an off-week or a catch-up-week, depending on where you are in the book. If you are attempting the ambitious 3-book plan, than this week you are reading two chapters in The Story of Everything that are titled “A Little R & R” and “Love Story.”

    The combination of Wilson’s chapter on rest and relaxation (and how they fit into the “story of everything”) along with this past weekend’s Superbowl, has me thinking about football and faith and how we should approach the combination of recreation and rest with our beliefs.

    In talking about play, recreation, sports, and fun in the life of the Christian, Wilson writes,

    We need to remember to play hard. We need to take having fun seriously. This means remembering to do it, for one thing! It means not thinking of rest, play, or fun as beneath us. But it also means being mindful in our rest, play, and fun that these things are gifts from God meant to help us celebrate being made in God’s image as Creator and project in some way the creative story he is telling with the universe.

    This can be difficult to do in the kinds of play that look like battle. It is difficult to do in the kinds of play that involve competition at any level. But this is not because "battle play" and competition are inherently bad. They can actually echo God's story, if we think of them the right way and keep his purposes at the forefront. (175)

    It was interesting to watch and hear some of the believers on the Superbowl champion Philadelphia Eagles attempt to “keep [God’s] purposes at the forefront in the midst of the competitive, violent sport.” Head coach Doug Peterson, shortly after winning the Superbowl and with ticker tape still falling, was asked how he would explain that 9 years ago he was coaching high school football and now was the coach of the Superbowl champions. His response: “I can only give my praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity.”

    When tight end Zach Ertz was asked about his game-winning touchdown catch and what went through his mind when the play was called, he responded, “I better score. Glory to God first and, foremost, we wouldn’t be here without him. This team is amazing. Each and every day we go out there. We love to practice. And I think this is the foundation of this team and, wow, what a run it has been.”

    Nick Foles, the Eagles’ backup QB who led the team to a championship, had these words when he was awarded the MVP of the game: “Unbelievable. All Glory to God.”

    Whether you agree with this sort of direct talk about God in this context or not, it is obvious that these players are attempting to keep God’s purposes in the forefront of what they are doing. Football, in many ways, is a ridiculous sport. Some have described it as committee meetings (huddles) punctuated by violence. Nevertheless, the players and coach are trying to keep their faith central to what they are doing.

    This is a good reminder for us all. God has given us sport, play, rest, recreation, hobbies, and the like. We would do well to incorporate them into our lives and submit them to God as we do every aspect of our lives. Whether you’re fishing on a summer afternoon, visiting your gym for an early morning workout, using your “craft-iness” to create something beautiful, or enjoying a horizontal repose on a beach somewhere, you should be striving to keep God’s purposes at the forefront. In doing so, you will be rejuvenated and refreshed and you will be glorifying God and testifying to his centrality in your life. Here is a question worth asking: How can I take God’s purposes to the forefront of my play, recreation, fun, rest, sport, hobby, and any other leisure pursuit?

     

     

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