Unity Across Difference

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

Tonight we pray for the injured Northwestern Wildcat football player.

What place has prayer in sports?  I don’t take a position here; I’m wondering. 

NU played Michigan State today.  Two players collided head on.  The Wildcat went down and did not get up.  The medical team attended immediately and Hubs saw the C-collar come out, never a good sign.  After several more minutes, it appeared the whole team gathered on the field in a still, vigilant scrum.  Heads bowed, hands grasped shoulders.  They’re praying, I realized. 

For better or worse, my first reaction was to wonder if that was okay with everybody on the team.   Do you think it was for better, or for worse?  Why?  Why do I even wonder about the distinction?  I assign it as neither (or both)—I choose simply to observe it, hold it with curiosity and not judgment.  I may entertain various stories about it, perhaps accepting all somewhat and none fully.

A second later I felt reassured, even inspired.  I don’t know anything about NU Football team culture.  I choose the story, however, that it’s the kind in which anyone asked to gather and express solidarity with a fallen teammate does so without hesitation.  “I will pray for your healing,” and, “Please pray for me,” said earnestly by a faithful player to an atheist one, can be received as an expression of caring and a request for support, respectively, rather than impositions of one’s beliefs on the other.  We bow our heads and grasp each other’s shoulders to show reverence and cohesion.  When one of us is hurt, traumatized, or otherwise suffering, it shouldn’t matter what religion we practice or not. 

We help however we know how.  Because we are a team.

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