The hope of glory. At the start of football season, or the conclusion of the pennant races, such a phrase leads to visions of parades and champions being dunked in Gatorade. The faithful fan hopes to bask in the victorious efforts of a favorite team even though the only finger lifted to support such a goal is limited to controlling the remote. The athlete is trained to always thank the fans for their support without alluding to the salaries super stars glean from team marketing. I own three different Green Bay Packer hats, four Boston Red Sox hats, a jersey, and two team logo t shirts, my bride has a beautiful embroidered Boston Celtics hoodie, and a Kyrie Irving jersey, so believe me when I tell you I’ve done my research.
In matters of religious faith we also have our rituals and traditions to make us feel part of the team. The concept of ‘taking it to the cross’ is such an identifying marker. Anyone who has been around Christianity for more than a week has been exposed to the concept as a guide to prayer. I was watching a comedy show recently where in the performer thought our veneration of the cross as our symbol might be a little unnerving to the returning Jesus. His skit went on to illustrate Jesus wondering how we came upon that symbol to represent Him. “Wouldn’t an empty grave logo be a little more cheerful?” Leave it to an atheist comedian to get me thinking the crucifixion is only half of the story.
When we shout with joy during a worship service for what He has done for us it may be an excellent time to personally realize He hears our praise, and prayers, because He is alive. He endured the cross for the joy set before Him and if we set that joy aside under the guise of piety we are short changing the exchange of our sin for His righteousness. The Good News ought always be good news. Somehow the public image of Christianity has become stuck between a picture of long suffering folks waiting for His return to set things right, and a vigilante collection of self contained watch groups, called the local church, nervously guarding the doors in case outsiders try and break in.
The glory of hope, to put it another way, is His perspective, experience, and expectation is present and ever available to us. If our walk with Him continues, ’from the grave’ as much as ‘to the cross’ we’ll get to walk around heaven all day. That’s a victory lap that will put a smile on every face. The race well run, is meant to be fun.