Last week I watched the Michigan – Michigan State basketball game. This year’s first meeting took place at Breslin Center. The two teams will meet again at the Crisler Center later this season. As the players were warming up, the camera panned around the arena. The angle only showed the bottom third of the fans. Except for a couple of students who wore TCU sweatshirts, the rest were dressed in green and white. If there were Michigan fans, they did not declare their loyalty through their clothing. During the game, my eyes were drawn repeatedly to the sea of green and white which surrounded the players.
Sports fans demonstrate their loyalty by donning clothing, making signs, wearing their favorite player’s number, or waving flags or pom poms. Some show their support, even when the team isn’t playing. A scarf, jacket, or hat lets everyone know who they follow. Like many, I have several items from the teams I watch.
Last week, as I was preparing for the Cabinet Retreat, I looked for the t-shirts I have which are a declaration of my faith. A couple are a snapshot of what it means to be called by God. I have a Rethink Church t-shirt and one from the 2008 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, where I served as an usher. One of the churches I served had t-shirts made for volunteers who were working in the community.
Being a Christian is about more than wearing God’s words on our clothing. It’s about doing our Lord’s work in the world. One of my favorite hymns is They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love. The song encourages us to live a life of faith, of caring, and especially of God’s love for one another.
We all need to share the Good News of what it means to have Jesus Christ in our lives. Our dedication to missions and ministries is what sets United Methodists apart from other denominations. Because of COVID, mission trips within our country and around the world were on hold. Now, many churches and church groups are making the journey to other places to help build and rebuild homes, schools, and even places to worship.
Faith communities are asking their neighbors how we can make a difference in their lives. We are looking forward to ways we can be a source of strength, comfort, hope, and love for people who are struggling. Individuals are exploring their own call as they realize that they are also God’s instruments for the world.
People are eager to get engaged and involved once again. Those we help will be able to see who Christ is through the work we do in His name. And from time to time, let’s share our witness and testimony of how what we do is life-changing. Let us share God’s love whenever we can, wherever we can, and however we can. And Amen.