Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Tigers Prayer Service, 2020

Massillon Tigers Prayer Service
October 3, 2020
Hebrews 12:1

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Well, I’m not going to lie.  You all are being asked to do a challenging thing during a very challenging time.  You’re being asked to focus on a really big game at a time when it’s nearly impossible to focus on anything for more than five minutes.  School is different, and family life is different, the football season is different, and this game is different.  Everything is different this year.  I mean, with all painter’s tape on the pews, and the masks we all have to wear, even being in this room together is different this year.

Like I said: A challenging game during a very challenging time.        And that’s why I want to tell you this:  This annual service here at St. Timothy’s is a chance to just stop everything for a minute.  A chance to sit and rest in the presence of God and one another.  For this time here today, it’s okay to just be silent.  To give yourself time to think and reflect and just sit, without taking notes, or worrying if you’re doing things right, or bracing yourself for somebody running into you full speed from the side.

A few minutes ago, I read to you that verse from the letter to the Hebrews:  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, in the faith and on the field.  Some of those witnesses are people who have played on this team before you, like our own church member John Muhlbach, who went on to play for Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.  And some other witnesses who are destined to simply watch the game on TV, like me.  But you are also surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, and who cheer you on from a different place.  Some cheer you on from another part of the country, and some cheer you on from another place entirely.

But there’s another part of that scripture verse that I want to be sure you notice.  The writer says, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  The race marked out for us.  Because, sure, all those other people are cheering you on, happy to tell you what this game meant for the team in their day.  But today’s game is not their game; it is your game.  Today is the race marked out for you.  The race marked out . . . of a challenging game during a challenging time.  No one else will play this game, on this day, against that particular team . . . who shall not be named.

For you and your coaches, this game is yours alone.  But you are not alone.  That’s the thing that I hope you’ll remember today.  This game is yours alone.  But you are not alone.  God bless each and everyone of you, and go Tigers!


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