Lord, we love our sports, games, competition. Winners and losers, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, we love it all.
But Lord, we mix our metaphors, we mistake life for games, we use the language of war for the playing fields. Remind us, God, that the Middle East is not a playing field. With the horrific murders of 3 Israeli teenagers and 1 Palestinian youth, the score is not 3-1 for either side. Help us to see that everyone is losing, there is no gold medal for breaking the most hearts, tearing asunder the most families, dashing the most hopes. The true score of daily evil is nil-nil, nothing to celebrate.
Yet, Holy One, you have given us a heart for victory. We yearn for good to triumph over evil, for health to defeat sickness, for justice to overwhelm injustice, for peace to prevail.
In the tragic corners of our world or our daily lives, may we find our truest triumph in choosing your will and your way, even when such faith is to mock death itself: “O Death, where is thy victory?”
Holy God, perhaps we can learn from the world of sports. Your scriptures urge us to run our race with perseverance, to finish well what we start, to not allow ourselves to be overtaken, to claim the fruit of victory. Let us bring such youthful, competitive exuberance into our world of faith.
When we cheer on the excellence of our favorite teams and players, remind us that we are cheering the result of years of practice, discipline, sacrifice, and teamwork. Challenge us, God, to exercise the best in the world in our own lives lived fully for you. Amen.