I am talking with friends about the Church, about the divisions in the Body, about the way the fighting and yelling causes me to mourn.
I begin to marvel at the fact that, even with all this fighting, somehow the Spirit still calls out to itself in each one of us, pulling us back to each other.
It is like dodgeball.
We’ve been divided into teams, and we are pressed against the back walls on opposite sides of the gym.
A members from each team stand closer to the middle, rubber balls in hand, waiting for someone to run forward, look away for a second, throw their ball and leave themselves momentarily defenseless.
Meanwhile those already out stand on the sideline cheering, waiting for a ball to be thrown, waiting for the impossible catch which sends the thrower out of the game.
Here, on the internet, we stand, divided into our different teams. A few well known names, and well known posts position themselves closer to the middle, ready to defend the rest of the team.
Occasionally someone darts forward to grab a stray ball, to lob it over to the other side. But mostly we just let those in the middle fire back and forth assuming they are the ones who will win it for us anyway.
What I notice is the way we keep running forward.
The ways we cheer and jeer from the sidelines.
We cheer from the sidelines because we want to be right. We want to win. We want our voice heard last and loudest.
We jeer because we are afraid. We are afraid of being wrong. We are afraid of losing.
But winning or losing is not the point.
And this is where the metaphor breaks down. Because we don’t just run forward to win, to get someone from the other side out.
Sometimes we do. Sometimes we run forward because they ran forward, and we hope in running, in lobbing a ball on their side, it will take them out of the game.
But sometimes we run forward because the Spirit says to run.
Because the Spirit that pulls you forward is the same Spirit that pulls me forward.
Because that Spirit is the same in me as it is in you. It may speak and make itself known differently in me than it does in you, but it cries out to itself from me to you in a way that draws us to one another.
If we stopped for just a minute we would notice that we are all dressed in the same jerseys. We are all playing for the same team.
We all have different roles on this team.
But we are on the same team.
Our shouts should be shouts of victory.
Because this win we are all fighting for? We’ve already got the “W.”
God has already won this battle.
He won it all those years ago on the cross, and when He did He called us together, to this one team, to this one Body, by this one Spirit.
I am on your team. I want to be on your team.