“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
It was the 2009 Grey Cup, between the Riders and the Alouettes. The Riders have a two point lead, but the Alouettes have the ball with only enough time left on the clock to try for the game winning field goal. This is it, the entire Rider’s season depends on the Alouettes missing this field goal. I look around the room. My family’s body language tells the story. Nathan is facing away from the TV with his hands on his forehead. Josh is sitting forward; elbows on his knees; face cupped in his hands. I see Jake, his face white, his hands clenched in fists. My dad paces behind the couch, miles he’s travelled before as a lifelong Rider fan.
The teams set up. We go silent. It’s so quiet I can hear my own bounding pulse. The kick goes up and it’s wide. The Riders win. The room erupts; we are jumping on the couch, hands in the air, hugging and high fiving. There is no holding back the elation we feel winning the cup. Then the unthinkable, the Riders are called for a penalty, and the Alouettes get another chance to steal the win. They make good on that chance and win the game. The collective energy of the room goes from unrivaled elation, to unequaled sorrow. Jake falls to the ground, face hidden in his hands; Josh is staring at the wall, trying to understand what just happened; a door is slammed and a wall is kicked; a tear rolls down my face, a small manifestation of the emotional roller coaster we’ve all just been on.
We love our football, and the expression of that love makes us do some crazy things.
I get a unique point of view when I’m at church. Standing on the stage with my guitar, looking out past my microphone during worship. I get to see all sorts of things; a woman with her eyes closed, and hands raised; a man on his knees, face hidden from the world; people with their hands on their hearts, tears coming down their face; or those sighting quietly, bible open on their laps. But I also get to see the reaction of the new person, looking around at these things happening. That person is always obvious, because the look they have on their face says “what the heck is going on here?”. To them, we must seem crazy. To them, our actions probably seem weird and out-of-place.
They don’t yet understand that there is nothing “magical” or “uber-spiritual” about what is happening. That there’s no appointed time to raise your hand, or bow your knee. No instruction that says those who stand are greater then those who sit; that those who sing are doing better then those who listen. They don’t yet understand that the gift of hope we have received in Jesus, that the joy of our Salvation cannot be contained. That those engaged in worship together, whether dancing in the aisles, or sitting in quiet reflection, do so because the grace that is Jesus flows like living water within them. Like an over flowing cup. Like a child who at the faint sound of the door knob turning, screams and sprints to the door to embrace his father as he comes home from work. And yes, like a Rider fan leaping to his feet as the football crosses into the end zone.
We love our God, and the expression of that love makes us do some crazy things.