The World Cup Disease

<img class=”size-medium wp-image-10559″ src=”×442.jpg&#8221; alt=”Stars & Stripes © Liz Van Steenburgh, Dreamstime Stock Photos” width=”590″ height=”442″ /> Stars & Stripes © Liz Van Steenburgh, Dreamstime Stock Photos

This originally appeared as a devo on

In our house, the World Cup has been on from Day 1. I’d say from the first kickoff but I’m sure that’s not the right terminology. It’s not a field either, it’s the pitch. And instead of a game, it’s a match. A shutout is called a ‘clean sheet’ and zero is nil. There are headers, throw-ins, corner kicks, penalties, offsides and two colors of cards – yellow and red.

The entire country is getting caught up in this. We normally don’t see this kind of enthusiasm for soccer. My first big memory of World Cup is the women’s team of 1999. I was actually watching when Brandy Chastain celebrated the World Cup win by ripping off her jersey. I’ve been sort of interested in it ever since but it was being in Brazil in 2010 for the World Cup that changed everything.

The country stops when Brazil plays. Literally. You are not getting served in a restaurant, you are not getting a taxi, you are not getting ANYTHING done when Brazil plays in the World Cup. We would be in schools and they would stop school, bring every kid to the gym and either have it on the radio or on a big TV or projector.

It’s obviously not that crazy in the U.S. It’s going to be a fun few weeks – don’t get me wrong but come August, things will go back to normal. So it begs the question – why? What is it that moves us for these short few weeks to be consumed by USA soccer?

There is a desire in each of us to be a part of something larger than ourselves. It’s why we high-five people we don’t know when they are wearing “our team’s shirt” in public spaces. It’s why two people can merely say “Roll Tide” to each other and know exactly what is meant. It’s why we love the Olympics and March Madness.

We were designed with this. It’s part of the Image of God – to want to be a part of something larger, grander than we can imagine. And things like the World Cup – they fill that need for a season.

It’s nice. It’s fun.

But it won’t last. That doesn’t make it a bad thing – just something that is incomplete.

We were wired to be a part of God’s big story, His redemptive movement on the earth. Seeing people be changed and redeemed, healed and restored. But to be a part of the story, you have to be a part of His family.

So consider this your friendly reminder for the summer – stay connected. Don’t miss being a part of something larger.

And don’t forget to cheer for the U.S. against Portugal on Sunday either!


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