Friday, December 29, 2006

"It Matters That We Played The Game"

On Tuesday of this week I went to see the new film "We Are Marshall." I had an emotional investment in this true story because some of my family members graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. I also lived in that general vicinity for many years. I remember that the football team preferred to be called "The Thundering Herd" but their record of wins versus losses was such that some of us called them "The Blundering Herd."

"We Are Marshall" is a story of tragedy turned triumph. It recounts how that on November 15, 1971, seventy-five people died in a fiery crash when their plane failed to properly land at the Cabell-Huntington Airport. Those 75 included almost the entire Marshall football team, their coaches, some parents, and many boosters and community supporters. I will never forget that the newscasters on WSAZ Television in Huntington wept openly as they reported the incident.

Every good movie has at least one memorable line. The line for me in this movie came as the new coaches were discussing whether to give up trying to play freshmen against seasoned upper classmen from other NCAA schools. One of them reasoned, "It matters that we played the game." It mattered that they stuck it out week after week and kept the program going. This turned out to be true as the team was eventually rebuilt and had some winning seasons a few years later.

Being Christians is something like that. It matters that we are in the game for the long haul. It matters that we say our prayers, treat other persons as if they were Christ, and show up for communion every Sunday. Sure, we will make blunders. That is where repentance and forgiveness come in. God is God of the second chance. As they say in monasteries, "We fall down. We get up." When all is said and done, it matters that we played the game.

Pastor Linda
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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