Fall is football.
Both words start with F and end with “all.”
Back in the 20th century, in the late 1980s, when Hickory High School was still standing, the green and white jerseys of the Bulldogs football team could be seen on a Friday night, as the eager boys of fall readied to rumble.
Our wonderful cheerleaders would get the crowd riled up as the wave of athletes tore through the paper banner taunting their opponent.
I drew and painted those paper banners, with help from the cheerleaders, usually on the Thursday just ahead of a home game.
I had fun trying to come up with ideas and sketch them out in bigger-than-life scale. If I was proud of one, I hated to see it torn apart the next night.
But that was what they were made for — it was their purpose. They were curtains on a gridiron stage, its painted face ripped apart to foreshadow the anticipated destruction of the visiting team, pointing symbolically to the devastation to be revealed afterward on the face of the scoreboard.
It was beautiful destruction, a rallying cry moment.
The tradition carries on today at football games, though usually with fabric banners that hook-and-loop together at the center and can be reused ad infinitum. But the idea remains — “destruction” with a purpose.
Bakers spend hours creating beautiful edible works of art in cookies, cakes, etc. So much is created to be ooh-ed and ahh-ed over before it is cut apart, dismembered and consumed.
It seems a shame to destroy such creations. But this is the goal for which they were made.
Jesus himself was sacrificed for us, poured out in intentional “destruction” with the goal of giving us life. It is the very reason he came to Earth.
Believers are called to be living sacrifices, dying to self, being reborn into new life. It is the intentional destruction of what was for the sake of what can be.
The rebirth strikes fear in the heart of the enemy — our adversary the devil — because it looks ahead to his eternal destruction, a victory to be ultimately displayed on a spiritual scoreboard.
Jesus wins. He already has. The game itself just needs to finish playing out.
I wasn’t a good football player, and my banners weren’t spectacular, but I was happy to play my part, even if something of mine had to “die” for the non-guaranteed hope of victory.
Today I commit to laying myself down in the guaranteed hope of victory in Christ. It’s a sacrifice I won’t regret.
Brett Campbell can be reached at ChunkyBrett@mail.com.