Grace and the Superbowl

The Ice Bowl

The Ice Bowl

I was born just south of Green Bay, Wisconsin. When someone asks me where I’m from, depending on his or her geographical perspective, I sometimes simply say, “Green Bay.” Because, let’s face it, who hasn’t heard of Green Bay? This place of birth makes me a genetic Green Bay Packer Fan. I can’t help it. It’s what I am. I am also 100% certain that if I had been born in, say, Nashville, I would probably like the Titans, but I wouldn’t have been able to resist the awesomeness that is the Packers. As a side note, if I had been born in Dallas, I wouldn’t like them at all, because, who does? I may be a little biased. Ever since the Ice Bowl, I’ve held a deep-seated dislike for the Cowboys. (Yes, it was 10 years before I was born, but that just shows you how ingrained the Packers are in my life.)

I am more certain of that than I am about my Christianity. When I was young, I was taught that my becoming Christian was pre-determined by God. His Spirit moved in those He chose to move in, and they couldn’t resist His call. Some were in, some were not. I was in, and who was I to argue with God. That’s easy to do when you’re on the inside looking out though. (Admittedly we didn’t do too much looking out.)

Now, I’m not so sure.

I’ve been struck with having to work through a faith that isn’t always consistent, giving lip-service to God’s grace, but giving God less ability than humanity to demonstrate it. I’m reconsidering the way I once held Christ’s words and their meaning.

Here we see Jesus, before his crucifixion, trying to calm the fears of his Disciples.

John 14:1-9 (NIV)

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

One thing I’m wary of is arguing with the words of Jesus. But I find some comfort in the fact that his disciples often times needed clarification.

Here’s what I need clarified:

  1. I always thought that Jesus was referring specifically to heaven when he says his Father’s house has many rooms. Now I’m wondering if that’s not speaking to the magnitude of God’s grace.
  2. What does it mean exactly when Jesus says he is THE way? He immediately says, “If you really know me…” That’s the way to the Father.
  3. How do we REALLY know Jesus? It reminds me of more words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

There’s a journey – “the way”, and a destination – “where I(God) am.”

The Power of Cheese

I believe my assumptions have been wrong. It’s what I was born into though. They are a crucial part of my “Faith Genetics” that have been unraveling, sometimes painfully, over the last few years. I’m now far more comfortable with a God whom I love because of His inconceivable grace (He did love us – the world – first), and not because I was selected to love Him.

The wonderful reminder is that it IS a journey. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t begun where I was. Feeling like Job, reminded of the unfathomable mystery that is God’s sovereignty, isn’t a bad place to begin, nor visit on occasion.

Sister Sean Marie Tobin

And now, if you were me, you’d be thinking, “Is he saying that the Green Bay Packers are analogous to God.” Well, no. But it’s way better to be a fan because they’re awesome than because you have to be.

Go Pack Go!
(Yes, this post is timely, as I know all of my readers are pulling for the Pack in the Superbowl. I appreciate that.)

John Saint Vince O'Neill

The authors' blogs are their own beliefs in their own words. If you wish to know more about what GracePointe Church believes, visit our main site for more details.