Devotional: November 5th
The lights went down. Spotlights began to circle the area. Music started to swell. Then the announcer came on the P. A. system and said, "Time now for your University of Kentucky WILDCATS!!!" Welcome to college basketball at its finest. Welcome to Rupp Arena, home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. There are not too many places on earth that you can watch a basketball game in any better a setting or with any more enthusiastic fans. Rupp has been home to the Wildcats now for thirty years.
Opposing teams that come in to play UK have consistently remarked that playing in Rupp Arena is an experience like no other. You simply have to be there. There is something about being at a college basketball game or a college football game for that matter. It is an emotionally charged situation that raises the bar of expectations especially if the home team is one that is a national championship contender. Here in Central Kentucky, in the heart of the Bluegrass, we have national contenders.
This year I have gotten to attend a Georgetown College football game and a UK basketball game. Both teams are expected to be in the hunt for a national championship in their respective sport. In fact both have a history of national championships. The very fact that there is a Rupp Arena is testimony to one of those coaching legends whose sideline presence brought UK basketball its winning ways. Adolph Rupp brought UK its first championship. The current Coach, Orlando "Tubby" Smith, coached its most recent winner.
The tag of winner is what elevates a sports program to that stage where the arena or the stadium or the field becomes electrically charged at home events. There are a number of programs that have that feeling and some that would like that feeling back. Basketball games played at home at Duke University and the University of North Carolina have that extra edge due to the venue. So do football games played the University of Miami or the Ohio State University. Backing a winner with expectations of greatness makes being there like no other experience.
So how do you feel when you go to church? Before a basketball game you make sure you're dressed right to support the home team. You try to get there early so you don't miss any of the action. Are you that anxious and preparatory about a worship service? If only our spiritual lives were as fulfilling as our physical lives, right? I am so sorry for you if that is the way you feel. Church is not an event. It is a gathering of winners; an assembly of the redeemed of the Lord made so by the all time champion of love, Jesus. When it comes time for worship, we should be ready to say with King David, "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.' " Psalm 122:1
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