As a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, the last few weeks have offered tremendous excitement. Playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, there is much joy for Jets fans, already known for being the loudest and proudest fans of the league, while maintaining decorum and politeness (for the most part).
I'm passionate about the Jets. I'm one of those fans with attire (shirts, socks, hats), decorations (bobblehead, calendar, pucks), even quirky things like a stuffed toy moose and a rubber ducky. I include game tickets in vacation plans, try to keep game night free to watch/cheer, I once wore a jersey over clericals to a parish council meeting (it was the first Jets playoff game in almost 20 years!) I live into one of the team maxims: "Fuelled by Passion." People know where I stand when it comes to hockey.
What I am more passionate about, however, is being a Christian. In my life it is most important to me that I actively live out my faith, loving God and neighbour, to the best of my ability.
Being a Christian is difficult. It takes passion, and commitment, and lifelong learning. It takes humility, and community, and outreach. It is a life of prayer and discernment and ministry; of worship and bible study and devotion.
Being a Christian is not as easy as being a sports fan; perhaps that is why it can be less popular. To be a sports fan is passive: the Jets will play whether I watch them or not. To be a Christian requires action: I am called to love, to live my baptismal vows, to find ways to apply the teachings of Jesus to my everyday life.
To watch the Jets is entertainment, limited to one season after another; people are traded, they retire, they move on. To live as a Christian is a way of life; it influences and supports everything I do, it impacts my every relationship, and it never takes a break.
While it's exciting right now to be a passionate Jets fan, it's more empowering to be a fan of Jesus. The options for enthusiastic engagement with the risen Christ are more than we can ask or imagine, yet also ever-present and ever-inviting. (Imagine what would happen if all sports fans shared an equal passion for the Good News of the Gospel!)
I ask Jesus to eternally fuel my passion to be Christian. May inspiration and enthusiasm grow around the Gospel call to justice and peace as I seek new ways to share that passion with the world. May I live that passion so freely that it continues to grow in and through me. (Regardless of who wins the Cup this year - but Go Jets Go!!)