Wide receiver, Andre Reed, of the Buffalo Bills was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame this past weekend. It was so special watching that moment. See the 1990s Buffalo Bills players were my sports heroes. Yes, I know that they struggled to end their seasons with the final win, but they were one of the best teams in the league for a decade (our fortune has faded this past decade, ugh).
Being born in Buffalo and having family there, we would travel there to visit during the summers after we moved away to the Midwest. One specific summer my uncle got us tickets to see the Buffalo Bills practice. They weren't any old lame pre-season tickets. No, we got to stand on the sidelines with the players. I stood with Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, Marv Levy, and even Andre Reed.
After the practice we had the opportunity to get autographs from the players. I distinctly remember saying something pretty dumb to Andre Reed (as I was enamored with the moment and in Junior High at the time). As he autographed a football card I gave him, I said, "We came all the way from Missouri for this." He just chuckled and asked, "Why?" Slightly crushed and a little humbled, I responded with, "Because we're huge fans." It wasn't quite the reception I hope for, but it is still one of my favorite childhood memories.
Ironically, on the way home we stopped in Canton at the Football Hall of Fame. It was a dream vacation for me to say the least. I recall wondering how many of my heroes would make the hall. So far six have, and there will be more (campaigning for Steve Tasker).
On Saturday, that dream of making the Hall came true for Andre Reed. As I watched his acceptance speech, I realized a pattern that all the Buffalo players in the Hall have followed. He, like the others, talked immensely about the camaraderie that playing on that team brought him. There was a forged brotherhood that took place on the field as these men faced the greatest victories and worst defeats in their careers. No one can break those bonds or take those moments away. They are forever linked together because of their time spent together in the NFL.
In the church, we call this unity of mind and heart true community. I know for myself, there have been specific key moments in my life that have been defined by an unbelievable sense of community. I think of college, California, and the Journey as a few of those special places. The experiences had and friendships created in those places have been truly life-shaping.
We all hunger and thirst for community; real human relationships. This isn’t found on facebook or illustrated at a distance via Instagram. Twitter won't forge a friendship with someone that will last forever. Pinterest isn't going to satisfy your craving for connection. No amount of social media will ever replace the need for being with another person, face to face, achieving goals together.
The cheesy children's song, The Farmer in the Dell, states that the cheese stands alone. There is no way what so ever that any true believer in Christ could ever say, "I can go it alone." We need each other. We need to be connected by the blood of Christ and the joint experiences we have advancing the kingdom of God together.
I imagine a testimonial moment during the feasts in heaven where we anyone and everyone will be given an opportunity to share about the depths of community we experienced with the saints of God. Greater still, we will continue to thank Christ for making that connectedness possible as we enjoy those unbreakable bonds forever.
#DontStandAlone #EngageInCommmunity #BeTheChurch