I was watching the USA World Cup match online at work earlier today, when I had to tear myself away from it to go visit a parishoner. While the US was staring down a 0-0 tie and elimination when I left, I knew that I would not be returning before the game actually ended. So I put my mind to other things, such as my pastoral visit, and off I went not knowing how my national team fared in the rest of the match.
Once I had prayed and said, “Thanks for having me in your home,” to my parishoner, I went out to my car and turned on the radio to the post-match show. I quickly realized that the US had scored just before the game had ended and we were still alive in the tournament. I picked up some lunch at the local supermarket and headed back to the office, where I watched the end of the match via a replay online.
I found myself with different emotions watching the game after the visit than I had while watching the game beforehand. Before I was worried, now I was confident. Before I wondered if the US could pull it off, now I knew the US did pull it off. Before I felt queasy, now I felt joyous watching the ball bound into the net to send the US to the second round.
As Christians, we believe we know the ending. We watch and participate in history believing that we will still be alive when the dust settles and moving on to another day, a better day. We believe that good is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate, life is stronger than death, and God is stronger than everything else combined.
Our story as Christians doesn’t just focus on the history of what God has done. It also looks forward to what God is doing. God is building something new and better than what we have now. Now we have a world where some prosper greatly while many languish in great poverty. God is building a world where everyone has enough: to eat, to drink, to stay, to wear.
Now we have a world where we are so afraid we have little hope of anything getting better. God is building a world where fear is replaced by hope, not a naive brand of hope and a wise brand that understands that life, while not fair, is good because God is good. God is building a world where there is no longer “us” and “them,” but simply just “us.” Jesus shows us what this world might look like if we are willing to try it.
Christians are in the business of trying to live this new world God is building, and we believe that while we will never get it completely right ourselves that God will come and amazingly make it right, the way it should have always been but is not. This may seem a pipe dream to you, but sometimes that is what faith is: believing the dream.