One of my favorite movies is the movie Miracle. Have you seen it? Kurt Russell plays the 1980 US Olympic Hockey coach, Herb Brooks. Awesome movie. I can't help but think of that movie since it was recently summer olympics season.
My favorite scene of the movie, the one that puts chills up and down my spine every time is the scene where, after the players find what's going on off the ice during a game more interesting than winning the game they are playing, Coach Brooks makes them stay on the ice after the congratulatory hand shakes.
They run the same drill, over and over and over again. The other coach becomes more and more hesitant to blow the whistle after seeing the players puking and practically collapsing after the end of each drill.
But Coach Brooks, says, "Again."
And they do the drill, again.
Until finally, finally, one of the players finally gets it. He finally gets the point of the coach's crazy behavior.
As his teammates lean over puking and barely able to stand, the one voice shouts his name above the retching.
Coach Brooks stops and says, "Who do you play for?"
To which the exhausted and out of breath player responds, "The United States of America!"
The practice ends with that proclamation.
See, up until that moment, it was all about the player and the college he played for. If they were asked to introduce themselves at a practice, each one answered proudly their alma mater. Coach Herb wasn't looking for that.
He was looking for a more refined answer. The collective answer. The team answer. No one knew it though, the players or the audience watching.
Until that scene.
I've thought about that scene throughout the years since it was made.
Usually I think about it in relation to my own struggle in finding my place among other Christians. I look for the place that sees the big team, not the players, or the members of the conference or the other teams that make up the conference under the umbrella word "Christian."
I've been in lots of churches with lots of names, and usually the second or third name of the church is "Christian," but the first is most often a denominational name - like Baptist or Lutheran or Orthodox or Methodist or Presbyterian.
I wonder, in religion's quest to perfect the regulations of Christianity, might we American Christians find it more exciting to say our name and what denomination we represent than it is to say simply, "I play for the Christian team?"
I know for a long while, I did. I took pride in my understanding of a denominational view and felt more enlightened than another's denominational practice. I felt holier somehow, more enlightened, more.....right.
But more and more, as I see what is happening in the world, from BLM to ISIS and all the initials in between, who do we really play for? Who really is the enemy?
Deep and uncomfortable thoughts for a Sunday, I know.
If God knows how it all works out and who the real enemy is, then why do I let myself go down a rabbit hole of pointing out the falsehood of those who, from my viewpoint don't see truth from my viewpoint? Wouldn't I and others be better off by searching more seriously for Truth for our own lives?
So let's take it a step further, since we are in the political season. And the violence is erupting once again by those whose anger cannot be calmed with normal tools.
Are we Americans first or are we Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians or whatever else comes first and American second?
Are we black or white or hispanic or asian first or are we humans first?
It's going to take a Miracle to put out the fires burning around us. I'm not sure if it's the Baptists or Lutherans or the Methodists who are in charge of the miracle department. Which ones are ISIS intent on killing more?
I think it's the job of the Christians to believe in miracles, to pray for the miracles, to lay hope and wait for the miracles, to beg for the miracles. If we can't see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ than there really is no point to our calling. We are all the children of God, placed where we are by Him, for Him, to glorify Him.
Do we want it to be said of us that we found it more important to be of the "right" brand or flavor of Christianity or more important to live in Truth? In a broken upside down world, right doesn't always look like Truth. Only Truth looks right when it looks like Jesus.