The liturgies of volleyball

One of the perks of living in a college town is all the sporting events you can attend. My family and I went to watch the Indiana University women’s volleyball team get pasted (sorry to say) by the nationally ranked Penn State team.

The little gym was loud and vibrant. People yelled. The band played. We engaged in our liturgies around the flag and the communal cheers we all shared. We sang the fight song with more gusto than nearly any church I’ve attended. And then we dispersed into the night.

Attending a sporting event can be among the most ritualistic experiences we ever encounter. And yet, we almost never bring to it the kind of weariness that often marks worship. I suppose the drama of the game is largely the cause. Worship is not a drama in the sense that a sporting event can be. At the very least, the drama is invisible, hidden in the past or lurking in the spiritual.

I don’t know that you would want a church service to be like a volleyball match. But it did get me wondering how it is that we drain all energy and vitality and drama and adventure out of Christian worship.

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Luc and his band

Here’s a short video I shot after one of Indiana University’s football games. Luc likes to stay until the very end so he can escort the band off the field.

Fourth of July on a cold lake

The Fourth of July finds us at the beach in Michigan. For those of you who do not know, Lake Michigan is in the northern part of the United States. The water does not get terribly warm. Today it was like swimming in ice water. And Luc would have stayed until dark if we had let him.

As I was standing in the shin-deep water watching Luc roll in the waves and dig his feet under the wet sand, a thought came to me that sneaks up every now and then. Unlike his brother and sister, Luc will likely need my help and protection as long as I am alive to provide it. And then he’ll need someone else to step in.

This is not news to me, but there are moments when it hits you. The weight of the responsibility settles on you instead of hovering overhead. Your realize that with your older kids you had set an 18-22 year ticker in your head when they born. My 23-year-old son is off in Aruba working. My soon-to-be 20-year-old daughter is plotting her senior year of college and what might come after that. Luc likely won’t do these things, not in the same way and not on his own.

I feel a bit guilty writing these words. I don’t want to foreclose his future. He has surprised me in many ways these last few years. Perhaps he has even bigger surprises in store. Perhaps not.

But this Independence Day, Luc and I splashed around in the ice-cold water of Lake Michigan. It made him happy. That is good enough for today. We have lots of tomorrows ahead.