From the Rev: Finding Home
The recent form of the team that I serve as chaplain has been difficult to say the least. Winning the league championship in 2010 and now fighting to stay out of the bottom of the league table are two diametrically opposed extremes – and it can be very difficult to travel between the two.
What does a chaplain say to players walking off the field after losing several games in a row? How does a chaplain encourage others who cannot find their way onto the field or bench, even when the results still seem to go the wrong way? How does the chaplain encourage the coaching staff and front office staff who work very hard behind the scenes and become discouraged by the mounting losses and poor results?
There are some times and some places where words seem meaningless and empty, and when you are traveling in this kind of wilderness, it can seem that there is very little to be said or to be done.
Recently, before one of the matches, I was praying about what words might be said to encourage the team. We typically have a pre-game meeting where as many as 5-6 players come to pray before a match and I usually share some words for reflection. God led me to share Psalm 46:4-5 which reads,
A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.
In reflecting on what “home” looks like we talked about the many different ways we consider home – some live here (in Colorado) far from home; but the interesting thing is how we don’t associate home with a house or building necessarily, but by the people that we are with, the community that we have around us.
I briefly shared the children’s story Panama by Janosch with those gathered. It is a story that wonderfully illustrates where home truly is. In the story, the two characters set out to discover the “land of their dreams” and along the way they encounter many different things. It is interesting when they finally arrive and to discover what “home” really looks like.
Whether a team struggling to win, or a family looking for a new place to live, there are many ways in which finding home is about discovering the people who are abiding and dwelling, and traveling together – and when we are with God and God is with us, these are places that will not fail and will not fall. It is the company that we keep that makes us strong – if our company is with Almighty God we are strong indeed and we can dwell in the shelter of the Most High. We can finally find “home.”
Rev. Brad Kenney