I thought I posted something pretty funny on social media the other night, but it may have been too obscure or too subtle to catch readers’ attentions. I wrote:
Players were standing at attention, singing along with the broadcast version of their national anthem, but never once did they get to “and the home of the brave.”
Of course, there would be no reason to sing the national anthem of the United States of America during a World Cup match unless an American team was on the field. Or on the pitch. Those were the national anthems of the respective participants, not mine. One friend who “got it” wrote,
“How culturally insensitive of them!”
So, my wry comment was hilariously funny. Or entirely too intellectual.
Either way, the world is bigger than you think. This morning my devotional and prayer time was in Romans 16. Bible scholars remind us that Romans was different than many other books of the New Testament, because it wasn’t a “polemic”; it wasn’t written to address a problem in a local church. Romans is more like a theological textbook, but in the final chapter the Apostle Paul gives significant ink to greeting and encouraging personal friends from various cultures who were at the crossroads of the world (Rome) at the time. He acts more like a coach, giving strategic encouragement to dozens of women and men from various parts of the world. Each was doing their part in a God-tapestry which was bigger than most of them could imagine. I bet it felt good to be singled out and acknowledged in Paul’s letter.
God’s world is bigger than the world we see, and I hope that brings you encouragement today. You are not alone but are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1). Imagine a really, really, really big soccer stadium of people cheering you on. This is a really, really, really big thing that God is doing, and our momentary lapses of personal and cultural myopia pale in comparison to the majestic picture that’s formulating. You can read Romans 16 right here. You might enjoy imagining your name in there, with you and your part being applauded.
I think I made my point. I mean, goal.