17 Seconds, Stanley

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I was taking out my dog, Bella, about thirty minutes before the Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals when this overwhelming swell of wind whipped through my apartment complex courtyard; spinning the bushes, creaking the bike rack, and swaying the mysterious oak tree that stands affront the building almost to the breaking point.

“Run, Bella!” Avoiding the downpour I scooped up our fury and frightened Shih Tzu, just escaping the flash storm that blanketed the Windy City. It all happened so fast.

It all happened so fast. Two minutes remained in the game and down by one goal our sites looked to Thursday night’s unexpected and undoubtedly exhausting final match-up to determine the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions: The Boston Bruins or The Chicago Blackhawks.

Our deflated table at a local pub sat impatiently watching as the final seconds slipped through the gloves of Chicago’s offensive attack when suddenly the scrappy effort of Brian Bickell tied the game up. The room erupted! Overtime period, as we saw the game’s outcome at that moment, was no stranger to Blackhawks or their fans.

What happened next no one in the room could have predicted. In 17 seconds from the moment the face-off following the game-timing goal, Blackhawks’ Johnny Odulla assisted David Bolland with follow-through slap-shot into the Bruins’ net with 58.3 seconds remaining. Shouts of joys, high-fives of joy, chest-bumps of redemption, tears of the reality that the Blackhawks may have just ensured the Stanley Cup filled the room and the rest of Chicago equally.

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ImageThe scenes and pictures from last night are still ruminating in my mind and soul. It was hard not to be captivated by the scenes on Clark Street. Minutes after the game, news stations had their camera’s tuned into the raw madness of fans pouring from the bars, homes, and friends’ watching parties to collectively celebrate with their brothers and sisters. Thousands upon thousands of people let go of their inhibitions as the pride for their team and their city had reached its boiling point.

I’ve always loved these scenes in the public sphere. Whether it’s rushing the court at a college basketball game when an underdog beats a giant or the images of millions waiting outside the Vatican with a spirit of hope as the announcement of Pope Francis was declared, people gather together when there is something to celebrate. People long for human interaction in the moment of great joy and gladness because the shared experience is something that enlivens possibility and creates memorable stories that can be told, captured, and re-told again. A common goal was reached for Chicagoans to win the Stanley Cup, so who better to celebrate than with the community of that common goal.

So how do we manifest this in the Church? In 17 seconds the Stanley Cup transitioned from something attainable of the Blackhawks in 48 hours to 58.3 seconds. If the Church hopes to manifest any form of celebration that these pictures display in the streets of Chicago following Monday night’s win, it must step into mindset that the possibility for creating a sustainable community, with the common goal of “acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God,” (Micah 6:8) is attainable today. Not after this fiscal year, not after this generation before us dies off, not when they start playing guitar during the service, and not when I get ordained and have some form of power. Nope. Today, now, this moment: this is the time to draw people together for the common good of our neighbors and neighborhoods. This is the time to grab our pads, our sticks, our Corey Crawford face-mask and skate into two-minutes-remaining-of-Game-6-mentalities. If we do this, with God’s help, the potential for a celebration-filled shared-experience is awaiting with excitement to fill the streets of the Kingdom of God. What’s stopping you this time?

(photo credits to The Chicago Tribune)

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