By Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, November 3, 2016
You know I’m not the biggest sports fan, but the fanaticism of the Cubs win has stirred my attention. Especially the stories being told about die-hard fans and their ritual observance of the Cubbies. For many, rooting for the Cubs is a deeply personal, family tradition. Time magazine reported the story of Bill Shannon, who spent the last few innings on his knees praying. This kind of devotion carries forward generation by generation. Fans pass on their passion and sense of expectancy to another generation of fans. It’s beautiful, really. Shannon said, “When you get to be my age, you don’t know if you’ve ever going to see it. I kept thinking of my all my friends at Wrigley, and so many that are gone. I feel privileged to have witnessed this.” It was like he experienced this with his friends who had passed away and for his friends that had passed away. What an amazing sense of connection!
This same sentiment was embodied in chalk murals that started spontaneously during the games in Chicago. Fans used chalk to write tributes and memorials to loved ones who were not able to see the Cubs in the Series. Many fans picked up a piece chalk and wrote a message sharing the good news and bearing witness, in a sense.
That is enough to make this preacher pause and take notice. This is far more than a game and maybe it can be a reminder for us of the deep communion in which we share in the church. It reminds me of All Saints day. It is a day of worship where we pause and bear witness to the life of faith of those who have died in the past year, but also it is a day to bear witness to the way that faith has been given to us by generations of those who served as stewards of the faith. By remembering their lives, these saints, we are reminded of our own responsibility to pass the faith on to the next generation, to bear witness to the good news. Be here on Sunday to bear witness to those who held faith in trust for you during all the seasons of your life.