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From the Rev: All Access

Apr 09, 2012

One of my best friends serves as youth pastor in Cardiff, Wales. He loves the image of the ‘All Access’ credential I wear around my neck at the stadium on match day. From the earliest days of my work with the Colorado Rapids, the badge around my neck has given me the chance to move freely – whether into the locker room or on to the pitch, into the stadium boxes and stands, or into the most obscure hallways and stairways. Even when the team played at Mile High Stadium and Invesco Field, as well as its current location at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – there have been few doors that have been shut and inaccessible – an amazing sign of God’s mercy and grace.

At times it can feel like the gates are being welded shut against a chaplain.

Not all chaplains, though, in Major League Soccer have such access. In fact, CrossTraining’s ministry to the Portland Timbers is such a location. There, few doors are open to the work that Timbers Chaplain Ben Dudley is doing with players and staff – meetings are held off-site, a season ticket is purchased in order for Ben to be present at matches, and there is no credential; no open door. The work in Portland is tough. It is different, even difficult, and can be discouraging.

‘All Access’ – this can be part of your prayers for CrossTraining Portland and our work with the Timbers. How do the doors open? Usually, through relationship. Of the chaplains around the league who have access similar to that of CrossTraining Colorado, much of the access happens from being in relationships with people who make decisions – whether a head coach, an administrator, owner – these have sway over what happens (and does not happen) in the locker rooms and team facilities around the league. Many relationships rely heavily upon a person’s understanding of what a chaplain is and what a chaplain does and this makes continual education and relationship building a priority for those who choose to minister to professional teams.

 

This CGI rendering of the veil in the Jewish temple shows the monstrosity and what could only be the work of God to rip the barrier which separated man from God (what was known as the Holy of Holies) into two pieces.

Of course, the metaphor of ‘All Access’ is one that is not lost on Christians – several texts in scripture speak to the access that is granted to those who believe and have faith in Jesus. Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:17-18, and Hebrews 10:19-22 all speak to the access to God and His grace and the reconciliation that occurs as a result of the sacrifice that Jesus made in going to the cross, dying a gruesome death, and being raised to life three days later. This ‘All Access’ pass that we have available to us is not merely about getting a peek behind the proverbial curtain of religion or spirituality – it is about having access to God, Himself and of being able to be in reconciled relationship with Him.

This first day after Easter, I hope that you have an ‘All Access’ credential to God – it is simple and easy to obtain – this gift of God is available through faith. It came at a great price – the death of Jesus. Do you know him?

Blessings,

Rev. Brad Kenney

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