They both play football for the Patriots. But this is a column about the service to God, so please stay with me.
Last Sunday evening, the Patriots suffered for 30 minutes to fall behind Denver, 24 to nothing at halftime. I work with a fellow who's a Pats fan, and he turned off his TV then and went to bed. At that point in the evening, thousands of twitter feeds were calling for someone to get fired.
Now, a football game is divided into quarters. The reason they call them quarters is that there are not less than four of them in a game. It's just not over at halftime.
By the end of the fourth quarter, the Pats had done some scoring. New England had fought back to a tie. This game went into overtime. Why play past one hour? Because the game wasn't finished.
This week we look back at a Patriot's overtime victory and learn a few practical things.
One - athletes don't want to be benched, they want to step up and take the field regardless of the score. We exist for a reason. Don't walk off the field.
Two - this is a tough game. Want to talk about unsportsmanlike conduct? Consider how easily the world simply throws away human beings in the name of "shareholder value". From trafficking in living people to homelessness in Boston tonight, this world is grounded in wrong. We have a job to do and, like the pros, we can take timeouts when we need them. But stay in the game!
Three - sometimes the game will not go our way. Angry tweets at halftime? Not relevant. Until the Lord of heaven and earth stops the clock, we are not dismissed. We sometimes have to play overtime, and do so even if we feel down. We think we know this but we don't always act like we know it.
From the first Easter to Pentecost, the total number of Christians in the world was the size of our parish. What did the church do with such small numbers? It grew. Disciples of all previous generations have handed the whole church over to us. We are this generation's team.
Listen, God is faithful. He loved us first before we loved Him. He took the Cross for us, surrounded by scoffers, and triumphed over the grave. He told us not to live in fear but in trust. He's equipped us with gifts and promised us that His grace is sufficient.
Back to who's who. Gronkowski plays a position known as tight end. That means he catches passes but he also blocks so other people can make plays. Gostkowski kicks field goals. Being human they regularly mess up. Yet they're both very good at making the team win although they do very different jobs. Get it?
Ok, Grace Church, you know what to do!