As I write this article, there's an important football game being played.
One side has promised to win; the other, to give them a mighty run for their money. Hint: one team will be wearing orange uniforms; the other, green.
Now I wouldn't dare announce what side I'm cheering for, since I have friends in both camps, but I'll just say this: I do favour the cooler shades in the colour wheel. I'll also note that on a recent Sunday morning, I wore a brightly coloured dress to church, its pigmentation the trademark hue of the other team.
My pastor (whom I love and respect greatly) quickly and, oh so gently, commented on my excellent choice. We both had a good laugh but I'll not make that mistake again.
In sports, as in any other kind of competition, things like anger, money, pride and malicious rivalry can spoil the fun. While team loyalty and support are things to be cherished, it's so easy to allow inflamed emotions to move the event from the arena of pleasure to the battlefield of animosity.
That same pastor preached on the dual topic of forgiveness and love. There was no reference to the game, and I'd been careful to wear a bland coloured outfit, but there was so much truth to apply to everyday living. If only we would love and forgive others in the same manner as God loves and forgives us, what a different world we'd be experiencing.
Too often the church is recognized, not as a safe place to be ourselves, but rather as a fragmented and feuding congregation. May God help each of us to live in such a way that we change that perception.
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 1 John 4:11
Go, team, go!