Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…
I giggle every time I remember the moment. My friend Bob and his wife Mary (not their real names) were cruising down the highway. “Cruising” is a kind word for they were, to the consternation of Mary, traveling at a typical speed that was far north of the speed limit. Mary, who after decades of life together with Bob, had learned that her protestations to slow down would be of no avail. Flashing red lights in your rear-view mirror, though, are typically enough to accomplish the task. As Bob lowered the window, and before the Highway Patrolman could say a word, Mary leaned across and inquired, “Are we winning yet?” Awesome. Tell me you’re not smiling.
Are we winning? Who had the most points? Who was first across the finish line? Who had the lowest score? At least as far as golf is concerned, I refer to it as the tyranny of numbers. My current standards for golf are, “Was it fun?” and “Did it make for a good story?” If these criteria are met, I am a winner. Even if it cost me a dollar. In this season of elections, though, winning is everything. EVERYTHING!! It is exhausting.
What’s the point of winning? What’s the goal? With regard to civic elections, winning is about assuming an oﬃce or it is about passing legislation. The most votes, you win… mostly. What does winning as a Christian imply? Going to a church with the largest attendance? My church having a balanced budget without my ever being personally challenged to be a generous giver? Somehow escaping a terminal illness and dying in old age as a crazy auntie or uncle? How about no one in my church finding out about my scandalous past? Yes, what would winning as a Christian look like?
Here’s where it gets real curious. In terms of that which would separate us from God, we have already won. Sin was taken oﬀ the scoreboard on the cross. Jesus won for us that which we could not; as people of faith we know that. Yet daily we face the onslaught of threatening news – pandemic on the rise, climate change, hate groups growing in influence, fears of election tampering – such that it can be diﬃcult to feel like anyone is really winning.
If one were to embrace Franciscan theology, winning is about embracing the truth and truth is always for the sake of love. Truth is not for some abstract purpose. Truth is for the sake of love. When we are goaded by a nameless Spirit who most often is working namelessly underground in our life provoking us to act in love, we are in fact winning.
Light pushes back darkness, love wins, the world wins. Through my years of pastoral ministry there have been people of faith who have served as humble, yet powerful, witnesses to this simple truth. Through economic hardship, diﬃcult medical predictions and broken relationships, they responded in love and I was left feeling that I had somehow won. See… isn’t that curious?
Wouldn’t it be something if on the morning of Nov. 4, the headlines across the nation read, “Love Wins!!”? Not going to happen. Yet love inspires us to believe resurrection is a daily gift to be lived out as a blessing to our neighbor and the world.
Here’s a thought for you… our halting steps toward maturity are by definition immature. Along the way the Spirit reminds us of God’s ongoing victory in the Christ. And so we press on, each day, in small ways, choosing to love, and God wins. Maybe for the more mature that is enough?