Over the past several weeks I have been living in between the heart attack moments of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Emma and I were introduced to the wonderful world of professional hockey when we lived in Chicago and we became instant fans of the Chicago Blackhawks. We watched them win the Stanley Cup over Boston in 2013 after which we soon got a puppy dog and named him Stanley. Stanley is now two years old and the Blackhawks are once again in the Stanley Cup finals.
While I love the Hawks madly and I try to have confidence in them at all times, I am always terrified and my blood pressure skyrockets during the games. The stress gets exponentially worse during the playoffs. We were pretty surprised that the Hawks beat Nashville in round one. Beating (sweeping) Minnesota was less surprising as that win allowed us to knock them out of the playoffs for the third year in a row. That brought us to the Western Conference Finals where we faced the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks had the best record in the West and I was terrified about this series. We traded wins through six games. Three of them went to overtime, one of which was the longest game in Hawks’ franchise history. Somehow we managed to survive until game 7, which we had to play in Anaheim. I was not confident at all, but somehow we mustered ourselves and severely dominated. No one was more shocked than me, but I watched every second in all of its glory.
As any serious sports fan will tell you, it is nearly impossible to explain the passion involved with following your favorite team. The way we will schedule our whole lives around the big games. The way that a song, chant or cheer can elevate our heart rates, lead us to scream uncontrollably and act like fools. The depression-like state that follows a big loss and the euphoric elation that accompanies a big win. I won’t even attempt to discuss the feeling that comes with a championship win, because there are no words.
When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013, people literally flooded the streets of Chicago. They acted in a manner that can only be described as ludicrous, and no one in Chicago was confused as to why.
Most of us know these feelings. Every time I feel these things when watching a Hawks game or an Aggie game, I feel the depth and height of emotionality itself, and every once in a while I wonder why I don’t feel this way about God quite as often. I’m definitely not about to admonish sports fans for not showing God the same passion that we give to sports teams, because I would be writing my own condemnation.
But I still ask myself the question. What would my life look like if I experienced the same emotions during church that I will experience during the next several days as the Hawks battle for the Cup? I mean it would help if I could watch God play a hockey game. Perhaps there’s a sermon in there somewhere, but I digress.
There are things in this world that stir our very souls. For me it’s hockey and football; music and a good novel; a great sermon or the inexplicable presence of God. Even when the object of my passion isn’t overtly God, I fall in love with God all over again just thinking about what sort of character and power it must take to be able to create these passions and emotions. We are all made in the image of God, and I believe that means God is a hockey fan. I hope you have passions this deep and profound in your life and I hope that those experiences give you an insight into the majesty and wonder of the nature and character of our God.
Have a wonderful week my friends, and Go Hawks!