Headlines from First Thoughts

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Sabbath for Cal

Life in Knoxville after a football game is combination recovery, therapy (depending on the final score), post-game analysis, and victory party (again depending on the final score). When I planned to start a sermon series on Sabbath yesterday, I knew what I was getting into. Football and Sabbath don't mix. It's not very restful dealing with traffic congestion, pre and post game stress, and the reality that football like Sabbath rolls around every week. Sometimes several times a week. But I thought, "It's Labor Day weekend; what a better time to focus on this Gift from God."

The last thing I expected to see on Sunday after UT's route of Cal on the river was a Cal fan plunked right in the middle of the sanctuary for the first service. At first, I didn't recognize our blue-and-yellow-clad guest. He feverishly took notes during the sermon and found me in the library after the service. He identified himself and told me that he had flown in from Berkely for the game. He was very complimentary of the people and the warm welcome, but he especially liked the prayer before the football game. "We couldn't do that in California. The believers there just gather under the trees and pray before the game-- much like that prayer yesterday, for the important things. It's just football, you know."

It's just football. The guy on the losing end of Saturday just stole my sermon. On Sunday, the scoreboard doesn't matter. Even in the midst of the fun of cheering on a team, football needs a Sabbath. For one guy from Berkely, who hopped a plane to watch his team learn about life in the SEC, he found true rest. Thanks for the gift.

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