Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Selah

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Cor. 13:11-12
“We're facing the Bullets today.”

His face is serious, his tone somewhat concerned.

“They're really pretty good. We had to go up against them before the tournament last year.”

He's replaying last season's confrontations and competitions, reviewing the victories and defeats from the stage of the soccer field.

“Are we going to be on time?” he asks, pulling on his shin guards and pulling the wadded ball of his orange socks into the slender knitted tubes that will go over his gear. He rechecks his bag for his extra jersey, for his sports drink, for his ball.

It's serious stuff, this soccer thing.

Up and down the field he runs with his team mates, chasing a black and white ball, running for the goal, anticipating the strategies of the other team, relishing the successful teamwork, finding frustration in the mistakes.

It's a consuming past time.

It all feels very real, very important, very now.

And in my grown-up mind, because I'm oh-so-very adult, I can smile and inwardly chuckle. Just wait until you have a mortgage, son. Just wait until you are navigating the field of career and politics and unethical competitors and blustery market conditions and parenthood and clients and church issues and marriage. Just wait until you have to confront real life, I think.

And I watch from the sidelines, with cheering parents and serious refs and bottles of cold water and bags of sliced oranges.

It's a game.

That reality seems to evade the kids, the coaches, the parents. This particular match, this particular season, it all seems important, immediate. We've all shown up, used resources to buy uniforms and gear. We've put it on our calendars, coordinated schedules, payed dues to keep the fields manicured and goals posts in good condition.

It's a game.

And it feels so important.

But a few weeks from now, this season will be over. People in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, the outcome of this kid's soccer season in this region, in this city, in this community, it won't be a flicker on the radar screens of their lives. Whether Lightening or Bullets or Crush or Dragons take home the division title won't mean much to anyone in Missouri, Michigan or Montana.

It's a game.

You and I. We're playing a game, too. We've got time and life and resources invested. We show up, we run through the drills, we chase down the goals. We develop teams, we don the uniform, we run the race.

The human race.

We take it seriously and it all seems important.

But it's not the real deal.

That's waiting on the other side. All this, it's just a short practice.

Just a run-through of what really matters. Just a filtering station to clear the impurities. Just a weigh station to receive an easy yoke. Just a filling station to fill up a tank of grace.

And as much humor as I sometimes find in my son's soccer attitude, with the way it all seems so critical and center stage, how much more does my Father find my life attitude, how seriously I take it, how focused on this field, these players, these challenges; does He smile? As He drives me to the practices for patience and to the lessons for compassion, does He grin at my chatter about how important it all seems to me? And when He cheers from the sidelines of my matches of faith, my competitions of trust, I imagine it's all from a place of knowing there's so much more than just this season, this game, the time in the sun.

It's child's play. And for this child of faith, I want to play well.

But I'm so glad my Father is there on the sidelines, seeing the bigger picture.


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