Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Saturday Kind of Worship

If you know me at all, you know that I'm a huge college football fan. I think my favorite day of the year besides Christmas is opening day of NCAA football. I love getting up to watch College GameDay, I love the rivalries, I love the pride and passion of football traditions... I just love everything about it. During the time we lived in Tennessee, and the years my sister Stephanie was at the University of Tennessee, I became a giant Volunteers fan. There's just nothing more awesome than 100,000+ people in bright orange, roaring around you as you hear "It's football time in Tennessee!"... and the Power T opens up, Rocky Top starts playing, and the Vols come running out of the tunnel. I mean I literally have chills just writing about it right now. It's awesome.

My little sister Sydney now goes to Texas A&M, which, as you probably know, is known for being a very tradition rich school. So about a month ago, Stephanie and I went to College Station to see our first Aggie football game. I knew it was supposedly a really cool environment to see a football game in, I'd seen Kyle Field on TV plenty of times, with the Corp and all of its traditions, waving the white towels and all that... but nothing I had seen on TV or heard about from people who'd been there before could have done justice to what I got to experience in that stadium. To see like 90,000 people, arms around one another, singing in unison and swaying back and forth... I don't care who "your team" is, that is hands down one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to see in person. I promise it will make every hair on your body stand straight up. It's incredible. Stephanie and I just looked at each other and said, "Yeah... that was awesome."

So then I started thinking, why is this such a powerful thing? What is it about people, unified by a common love or passion, that can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, give you goose bumps and even put tears in your eyes? What is it within us that wires us to feel that way?

It's worship.

The definition of worship is "a feeling or expression of reverence and adoration."

And if God put inside of us the desire to have that feeling of unity and power for one greater good — which we use on Saturdays to cheer on our team — what kind of power would it have if we really used it for what it's intended for?

I wonder what Sunday mornings would look like if we worshipped with the same passion and unity then as we do on Saturday afternoon. I wonder what our communities would look like if we lived a lifestyle of worship that was as unified and passionate as a stadium full of football fans. I wonder what our nation would look like.

I just can't imagine that God gave us those feelings just so we could use them for ourselves. Because believe me, I believe one hundred percent that the joy I get from college football is from the Lord... seriously! But how much more powerful would that joy be if we used it to glorify HIM as much as we do to glorify the earthly things we love... like our favorite team. Or whatever else it is that you're so passionate about.

Just something that's been on my heart lately...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ode to Williamsburg.

I feel like this year my roommates and I have found ourselves reminiscing a lot. I guess with the end of college on the horizon, there's this sort of sense of self-observation and reflection that's set in ... hoping for what's next, loving where we are and appreciating where we've been together over the last few years. We spent some time tonight talking and laughing about our sophomore year — it was an interesting one.

Your sophomore year is awesome in a lot of ways, because you're no longer a scared or homesick — and probably a little to "free" — freshman. You've probably found your friends by then ... the ones that are going to last. You've been away from home for long enough to feel independent and "grown up," but you're still young enough to be a bit of an idiot. You're settled in to your college life, and life is just pretty fantastic.

When I was a sophomore, me and two of my best friends spent about 70% of our time with a group of people who became somewhat like family to us at our friends Jake and Kevin's apartment. None of us quite knew who we were or even who we wanted to be yet, but we sure had a good time together. Tonight we were reminiscing on all those good times, and it inspired Kelsey and I to co-write an "Ode to Williamsburg" ... a painted picture of the movie of memories that plays in our heads when we think about that year.

When I think about Williamsburg, I see...

dance parties.interpretive dancing to "hide and seek".PBR.clouds of cigarette smoke.ten friends standing in a circle with arms around each other, singing "hey jude" but inserting each others' names instead.jake standing on furniture singing "piano man". a police man at the door because we were singing miley cyrus "party in the usa" too loud.james coming into the living room, guitar in hand, ready to sing a few johnny cash numbers.rooftop chats.lacey walking it out.bob dylan, rilo kiley, mgmt, avett brothers, cold war kids, and edward sharpe sing-alongs (among many others).heated political debates between kevin and randoms.seth and all of his peer pressure.colton's free spirit... and all of his ginger hair....remember that time kelsey broke the ice tray?. aleigha's epic dance moves.the later it got, the more mysterious james was in his corner.the little blonde from atlanta came along, and kevin fell in love. glad we found you, matter how loud the music got, jake's personality was always louder.once in a while we were graced with jody's presence, and the party would start all over again.we found haley that year, when she started dating... well, you know. the day we ventured to little rock to see frightened rabbit ... and seth and i thought it would be a good idea to drive back before the sun came up.

It was a year of laughter, of not quite having ourselves or anything else figured out, and embracing our youth in the meantime. It's funny how we've all grown up and gone in different directions... whether that's grad school, a big kid job, dental school, being a nomad, or running away to the mountains, each of us has somehow found where we always wondered we'd be going, or are at least on our way. But for that one year, we really loved each other well. Our friendships have lasted, but they've evolved as we've all grown up. But when I think about that year, it's like time stopped for a bit, just so we could enjoy life and enjoy each other... I'm really thankful for that. We'll probably never (nor should ever) relive the times we had in that Williamsburg apartment, but I think in a way we were all somehow, in some small way, shaped by that place.

From Kelsey and I, here's to you... 
Jake, Kevin, Dawson, Seth, Lacey, Aleigha, James, Haley, Colton, Jody, Melanie...

We sure are thankful for you. As our friends the Avett Bros would say...
"Decide what to be, and go be it."