In a time when meeting and interacting with anyone new (outside of my new friends behind the grocery counter of course) seems to be far from commonplace, reading through Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers has been a life-giving and challenging read on our presuppositions when interacting with individuals who are new to us. I very much look forward to putting into practice some of Gladwell’s insights once our current isolated state comes to an end.
I am typically the guy who hops on the train of pithy, applicable articles during any worldwide event, looking for “7 Things We Can Learn from. . . .” I can usually write words of comfort that are “shareable” and “likeable.” This time, this was not the case. As we entered into the first days of the devastating catastrophe that is COVID-19 here in Canada, I began to process it as I typically do, by writing.
Maybe you are a Student. You moved out of the comforts of your family home to attend university, and you find yourself in a strange land. Your friends from high school are gone. The daily support and reminders from your parents and teachers are gone. You are studying a degree that you’re not really confident in – you just picked something. You’re here, but you’re not sure if you should be. You might be grieving the loss of old friends, the distance from your family, the end of your varsity career or your time as a lead in the school plays. Everyone says, “Go enjoy yourself! It’s university!” But sometimes you want your old life back.
Jesus Christ, the Son of a sovereign and gracious God, came into the world as a new child. Born in lowly place, he experienced these same ebbs and flows of life. From new relationships to new ministries to the final days of his life on the splintered cross. He too experienced ever-changing, unpredictable life, but he did not do so with his eyes set on himself.
Soccer is marked not only by its beautiful diversity but also by its ecclesiastical unity and effortless inclusivity. Thus I think there are three things that the Church can and should learn from the World Cup if we are going to become a more Christ-centered body that seeks justice and welcomes everyone.