Apr 5, 2013

same teams

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.


Stephanie Spencer said...

Amen. I am so passionate about unity. Not uniformity, but unity. Loving each other well. The way Jesus told us to love like He loved. With humility and grace, with redemption and hope. Not with throwing stones, but by embracing in love, and calling to something new and better.

Thank you for calling for more of that.

Aaron said...

Reading this kind of made my day. Of late I feel like I am running forward and then just when I think no one else is there on my team I find someone, they come in from behind, to the side, or in front of me. I just had to do some running for them to see me, for me to see them.

haleykristine said...

Thanks, Stephanie! Unity not uniformity can feel scary, but it's so much better!

I'm just as guilty of forgetting we are on the same team as the next person. And it breaks my heart every time.

Thanks for reading, Stephanie, and for your comment!

Scott Mylnechuk said...

I often forget about "The Spirit." Today is as good as any other to feel the love and potentially move when the spirit wants us to. I think "the noise" of my life causes me to forget what the Spirit is leading me too. Thanks for this, Hayley. You are a gifted writer and this hit home today.

haleykristine said...

I'm so glad this spoke to you, Scott! Thank you for reading.

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit, I would be a terrible part of this Body without it.

haleykristine said...

Glad we're on the same team, Aaron.