BALANCING ACT: Live by the three
When several churches called off Palm Sunday services two weeks ago because of bad weather, I was afraid the human race might overlook the Easter holiday this year.
I have to admit, I was one of those who did not mind at all spending that Sunday watching college basketball teams live and die by the three-point shot as the televised games of the NCAA tournament unfolded.
Even though my bracket was soon busted and by Easter Sunday, I only had one of the four eventual Final Four teams correct, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the games with my husband and cheering on our favorite teams and players.
Still, in the back of my mind, I felt a bit guilty about the amount of time I spent discussing guards and forwards, and debatable referee calls as compared to preparing for one of the most important religious seasons in the Christian faith — Easter.
Athletic competitions inspire a lot of passion and emotion in people, especially when a player gets injured, or an underdog team catapults into the limelight with a big victory. I think that as humans, one reason we enjoy big sporting events so much is because it feels good to let loose of all those emotions in an acceptable form — cheering for our favorites or booing those who stand in the way of victory.
Cheering and booing was a big part of the life of Jesus Christ in the Christian Easter story too. He was cheered on Palm Sunday as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and then booed on Good Friday before the Roman soldiers put him to death. Finally, on Easter Sunday he arose again, sealing the deal that guaranteed eternal life for those who believed.
Never would I even begin to suggest that basketball is equal to Christianity, but perhaps some of us who get so easily distracted by the events of modern life can use it as a reminder of what is really important.
I could not help but marvel at the thousands and millions of people that prayed publicly for the well-being of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware who suffered a broken leg during a playoff game on Saturday. Announcers, game analysists, coaches, people in the stands, fans on Facebook — so many people bowed their heads unabashedly in prayer for a young man who was in pain.
It was a sign to me that we are still a nation “under God.” There is still power in prayer, and Jesus Christ is truly alive.
Even though other things in life distract people sometimes, there are many, just like the basketball teams in the tournament, who live by the three. Teams that sifted out to the top of the basketball brackets made their three-point shots.
People that follow the Christian faith live by the three as well — three crosses on a hill at Easter, or the three-in-one that refers to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Three is a good number, especially if your team is down by two with several seconds on the clock and gets possession of the ball. When that final basket goes swish from behind the arc in the final championship game coming next week, I will think of the importance of three. And hopefully those thoughts will stay with me, not just at Easter, but all year round.