Christian writer and philanthropist Bob Goff holds a parade each year where no one is allowed to be a spectator. You are either in the parade or you can’t go. He uses this as a metaphor for our life with Jesus. Jesus wants us to be part of his story of saving the world and you don’t get to be a spectator. You get to be in the parade.
I just went to a parade that was one of the best parades I have ever been to—the Seahawks victory parade on Wednesday. As I have been mulling over our amazing victory on Sunday and seeing 12th Man flags flying everywhere I look, I have really been amazed at how well this team has been able to invite so many people into their story.
It starts with Coach Pete Carroll. He seems to have assembled a group of young men that all believe why not them? Many of them were not chosen for other teams, but with the Hawks they have a place and they matter. Even the Super Bowl MVP was not a starter at the beginning of the season, but he is part of a team where every single player on the team has a part to play.
Players talk about how Pete cares about their whole lives, about how much fun they have at practice, about how focused they are on the message of good defense and a strong running game and that every game is a championship game. And they always thank the 12th Man—that is, the fans, who they also see as a vital part of the team.
There are lots of ways in which Pete Carroll is disciple-ing his players and even us, the fans. I mean, we are even called the twelves. But besides the obvious parallel with the 12 disciples, there are some interesting parallels between our lives as followers of Jesus and our lives as followers of the Hawks.
Putting aside that this is football we are talking about, and it is a little silly, I fully admit, there is a way in which I think we can learn from Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks about what it means to be a follower of Jesus:
- You are part of the team. Every one of you. It doesn’t matter if you were chosen first or last or not at all, Jesus needs you to be a part of his story of saving lives.
- Jesus doesn’t just want part of you, he wants all of you. He wants you to be on his team every day, every hour, every season. He knows every hair on your head, after all.
- There are always some people that just show up for the parade [Christmas and Easter???]. But that is ok. Invite them in. They are and can be part of the team, too.
- Jesus has a consistent message and it is the same for everyone. We are saved by grace through faith, without the works of the law. There is nothing you can do to earn it. You are forgiven when you mess up, and you GET to [not because you have to to earn anything, but because you get to because God is so awesome]. You get to love God and love your neighbor, and you get to enjoy them.
That last part, about enjoying each other was why we took our kids out of school to go to the parade. The people that were there were just so grateful to be a part of something bigger than them. Most of them have never even been to a game, but this is their team. And they wanted to enjoy the victory with all the other twelves.
Maybe we can see that this is what we get as Christians, too. We are part of the story. And we get to invite others to share in something that is bigger than they are, and it is so much better when we know we are in it together. We are the latest in a long line of disciples of Jesus—a line that started with just 12. So celebrate your part in the story. Share your joy. Be a 12 not just for the Hawks, but for Jesus as well.
Enjoy the journey!