Every time we sat around the television in the living room to watch a Wales rugby game, we all had to wear the team colours. It was not just asked of us, it was required because if we didn’t my father was convinced Wales would loose. So we did. Every time Wales was playing I would wear my red Welsh rugby jersey, my red and white Welsh rugby scarf and my red and white knitted woolly hat, the kind with a big bobble on top. Proper attire on and half time goodies tempting, the game would begin. As the first whistle was blown and the ball began its journey high into the air the level of anticipation and excitement would begin. “C’mon boys” we would all shout as if they could hear us through the telly. The teams would be clashed in deathlike battle to secure possession of the ball. A pass to the ‘backs’ and a strong run toward the ‘try line.’ “Oh c’mon referee are you blind?” would often be heard from my father’s chair. Winter in Wales means the central heating is on. When the heat is on, sitting in the house with a thick rugby jersey, a scarf and a bobble hat can become uncomfortably hot so my reaction was to take of the scarf and set the hat aside. Inevitably, that would be the moment that the Welsh team would loose possession of the ball and find they were struggling to keep control of the game. My father would shout for me to put the hat and scarf back on and then it would happen: the Welsh team would capture the ball and go on to score a ‘try.’ My father can probably prove statistically the times Wales lost purely because one of us had not donned the appropriate team colours. It was a question of showing our loyalty and desire for Wales to win.
I have traveled to many cities during these last few weeks and seen a variety of people wearing their various team shirts. I knew I was in Atlanta when all the locals were wearing Braves shirts. In Minneapolis Vikings shirts dominated the concourse in a sea of purple. Deplaning in Baltimore revealed crowds waiting to board sporting their Ravens regalia. On game day around Houston the Texans’ flags wave proudly from the windows of the trucks and SUVs zooming down Interstate 10 toward the stadium; and, everyday seems to be an appropriate day to wear maroon for those Aggies among us. We like to show our loyalty and according to my father it makes all the difference to the teams performance.
So how do we show our loyalty to Christ? How do people know that we are Jesus supporters? Yes, there are the Christian shirts with a variety of messages, statements and crosses on. We wear our cross pins, our cross necklaces and even stick fish to our cars, though sometimes I wish some Christian drivers didn’t. These are some ways but not the way we truly reveal that we belong to the kingdom team.
Jesus told his disciples that others would know that they were his disciples by their love one for another. Now that is more than a shirt or a truck flag; that takes action, time and relationship. We are also told throughout scripture that our obedience to God’s commands, our caring for the widow, the poor and the orphan all contribute to our showing our loyalty and belonging.
Do you wear Christian regalia when you are out and about? Or do you also seek to “do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” This week do what you can to show that you belong to the one who has saved you in such a way that people will notice.