I am a complete sucker for those military homecoming videos. You know the ones. Mom or dad, or maybe a son, daughter, or a sibling is in the military and has been away for some time. Sometimes the set up is very elaborate. I’ve seen them done in elementary schools, high schools, college graduations, kid’s sports events, even professional sporting events. The family member has no idea that their loved one, who has been away serving our country, is home and is about to appear. Then, suddenly, the soldier, marine, sailor, or airmen appears. In almost every case the moment the family sees the service man or woman, they forget all propriety and run to them. We should be more like this.
Not cool, man. Not cool.
I remember one particular video. Actually I’ve seen several like it. It involves a high school or college guy playing sports. It seems like a game or practice, just like any other. Until the player across from him removes his football helmet, or catchers mask, or mascot head and reveals that it’s actually dad inside. In that moment this big, bad guy, this athlete cares nothing about what his friends might think. All that matters is that his dad is there. I’ve seen these big, athletic young men run and hug their dads, with tears running down their face. How often have YOU seen a high school or college age guy so willing to cry in front of his friends?
I remember another one where a girl was a cheerleader. I can’t remember if it was high school or college, but you get the picture. She was in the middle of a routine. They were standing in formation when suddenly dad appeared. Even though she was supposed to be standing in formation, she no longer cared. She was willing to face the consequences of breaking formation. Heck, she may not have even been thinking about it. In that moment all that mattered was being with her father.
This isn’t just about dads either. I remember one where a young African-American guy was practicing with his high school basketball team when mom walked into the gym. He COMPLETELY LOST IT. He ran over to the padded wall behind the goal, then fell to the floor crying. Mom came over to him, encouraging him to get up, but he was so overwhelmed with emotion he simply had to sit there and let it out for a moment. After a couple minutes he did get up and hug his mother, still with tears on his face.
Husbands, siblings, children and more
This is not all just about moms and dads. I’ve seen similar video of siblings, husbands, or children coming home. In every instance the unsuspecting family member forgets all about appearances. All that matters is that this loved one has returned to them. The emotion is often overwhelming. I remember scenes of wives, with kids running along behind her, running across football fields to jump into the arms of her husband… literally jump into his arms. I’ve seen younger brothers collapse to the floor, over whelmed by emotion at seeing their older brother or sister. It never cease to amaze me the number of such videos that I have seen.
I’ve been in church my entire life. One thing that I have noticed is how seldom people are willing to act, or appear foolish in church. The people in the stories I shared above, and hundreds more like them, give us an example of what it looks like to totally abandon propriety, even if only for a moment. These folks are so overwhelmed being in the presence of their loved one that they forget all about the limitations that they normally put on their own behavior. They act like fools, and they don’t care what anybody thinks.
Maybe we, in the church, need to act like fools more often. We come into the presence of God, but do we act like it. Are we so comfortable or complacent in our relationship with Jesus that we no longer get excited about being in His presence? When was the last time you got so excited about Jesus that you were willing to look foolish? Have you EVER been that excited about Jesus?
Maybe the reason that more people are not coming to church is because we don’t even seem to want to be there. We, who claim to now Christ, who claim to have a personal relationship with Him, are not excited about being with Him. If we don’t seem excited about it, why should anybody else be?
In the videos I talked about above, the only people running to the new appeared serviceman or woman are the family. The other members of the team are not running towards him or her. The people in the crowd are not running towards him or her. they don’t do that because THEY are not the ones with the personal connection. This is not their loved one, so why would they run towards them? But, the family can’t help but respond.
They make me cry. There I said it. These videos always make me cry. I’m a big cry baby. Many people are moved by these videos. I am so moved by the responses of the families that I cry. I get excited for them. I get excited with them. What if we became so excited about being with Jesus that we were willing to act or appear foolish? Would people around us be moved by our display of love for Jesus? Maybe.
I would encourage you to enter church with the expectation of encountering Jesus. Then be willing to become excited when you encounter Him. Be willing to get so excited that you can’t help but show it. Become so excited that you don’t care what people think. Become so excited that others can see it and are moved by it.
Don’t be afraid to appear foolish for the sake of Jesus.Matt Norman
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