Good morning, I'm the Rev Steve Page from St Patrick's Anglican Church, and you're listening to the Daily Devotional moment, sponsored by the Hudson Bay Ministerial.
This month, I'm drawing our images of Christian faith and spirituality from the wonderful and sometimes weird world of Sports.
In the National Hockey League, the record for most consecutive games without a loss is held by the Philadelphia Flyers. Starting on October 14th, 1979, they rattled off 35 straight games without a loss. They won 25 times, and tied another 10 – this was before the days of overtime and shootouts. It was a stunning streak, by a team that not only looked but for nearly 3 months actually was unbeatable. In fact, it still stands today as the longest unbeaten streak in any North American pro sports league.
Imagine the rush the players felt, the adulation and praise they received for such a streak for the ages.
Alas, it did not last. On January 7th, 1980, they took a trip to Minnesota to play the old North Stars, a pretty good team in their own right.
The Flyers jumped out to the early lead, on a goal by Bill Barber. But the North Stars responded with a goal of their own, late in the first period. And as so often happens, a late goal gave the scoring team momentum that carried them forward.
Helped by some great saves by their goalie, Gilles Meloche, the North Stars cruised to a 7-1 win that night, ending Philadelphia's incredible, long streak of undefeated games.
The Flyers learned anew that all things in life must end. While it was fun, amazing, incredible while it lasted, while they received loads of praise and glory from their admirers, it all faded. Their glory faded so much that they did not even win the Stanley Cup that season, falling 4 games to 2 in the finals to Mike Bossy and the New York Islanders.
It reminds me of a Bible verse, Isaiah 40:6-8 “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. ... The grass withers, the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”
It's a reminder that we humans are mortal. We only have so long to live, and in time every great thing we accomplish, no matter how amazing it looks now, will fade. Think of all those abandoned buildings in fields alongside area roads. Once they were occupied and in use, but their time has passed, and they are literally falling like the petals of an old flower.
Isaiah does not mean to cause us to despair and give up hope. Nor does he mean for us to live solely for the moment, along the lines of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
No, Isaiah seeks to give us perspective and good news. There is something – there is someone – who does not fade and disappear. Our God, who spoke all of creation into existence with a word, our God of love who promises life eternal to those who follow him, our God will endure. Put your trust and your faith in him. Rather than the passing glory of an impressive winning streak, buy into what lasts, put your trust and hope and faith into following God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength.
For St Patrick's Church, I'm Steve Page.