September is an exciting time for followers of Australian football. The finals of the national football competition are held on the 4 weekends of September culminating in the Grand Final on the last Saturday in September. The Grand Final is always held at the same place – the Melbourne Cricket Ground – affectionately known as ‘The G’. (The 1956 Olympics were held in the same stadium.) I had the privilege of attending the 1997 Grand Final (similar to the Super Bowl) There were many fired up fans, many of them dressed in their team colors, and like here, with their team colors on their faces. It was an exciting game, and my home town team – the Adelaide Crows – won the big game. The cheering was so loud. The celebrating after the game continued on for hours, and days, and…
Here in the US September marks the beginning of the Football season. And there is so much excitement, and anticipation of one’s team doing well. (The Buckeyes did more than what anyone could have anticipated – winning a National Championship last season.) How do you think OSU will do this year? Some from our church will be following High School teams, and National Teams.
I love what I have heard for the planning or Rally Day this year. It’s like an old-style pep rally for the team, in this case Team Ascension. You are invited to be part of the celebration on Sunday September 13th. On our church logo we have the team colors – red, blue and yellow – the three primary colors from which all other colors are made. We have some diversity of heritage and color in our church. I think these colors are good.
There is some athletic imagery in the New Testament. Like verses about winning the race, and receiving the prize. Like training up the body. Like working as a team. Like the cheering from the bleachers from those who have already run the race. Two of my sons, Caleb and Micah, are presently in Greece, and they have seen ancient art of athletes from the biblical times. I wonder if St. Paul had known athletes and witnessed their competition firsthand.
This imagery has got me thinking about Team Ascension, part of God’s big team. We can say that Jesus is the captain of our team, and also the coach. We are blessed to have copies of the coach’s manual. We are mouthpieces for Coach Jesus, giving encouragement and directions for the play. We could say that we train weekly, or more often. There are various exercises (discipleship practices) that strengthen us as individuals and as a team. We have special team food (Holy Communion) that connects us with the team owner. We have a lot of team songs. We are more players or athletes than spectators, though our role in the team may change as we mature. Every player is important to the team.
We can talk to the coach anytime. And there is a huge cheer squad. We celebrate this every Sunday, and in particular on All Saints Day. Those who have gone on before are cheering us on. Keep going, team. Keep it up, Team Ascension.
Come and cheer each other on Rally Day and whenever you can.
- Pastor Tim.
SEPTEMBER SCRIPTURE READINGS