Yesterday, I began a 3 part series about my city, Cleveland, and what we have going on here since the announcement that LeBron James was coming home to play for the Cleveland Cavs once again. If you didn’t get to check out Part 1, you can check it out here: https://samfindsfaith.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/lebron-james-and-the-church-part-one/
Cleveland as a whole really knew how to welcome their homecoming son’s return, and I can say that I think not just because of the massive party they threw for the home opening game of the 2014-2015 season, but because that celebration is still going strong.
But today, I want to talk part 2. Cleveland not only celebrated this prodigal son on a grand scale, but they also did something rather incredible: they united. So without further adieu:
2. TOGETHER: a unified body.
If you haven’t yet seen the amazing commercial Nike made highlighting the city of Cleveland, please watch it first:
If for whatever reason you can’t, I’ll give you a brief play-by-play: you’re watching a black and white video of LeBron James being introduced inside a packed Quicken Loans Arena, “From St Vincent St Mary High School, LEBRON JAMES!” As he takes the court, he rallies around him his teammates in a huddle and begins to speak about “doing it for Cleveland” and as he’s talking, people begin to come out of the crowds and surround the team huddle, laying hands on them and joining in. Then it shows clips of people all over the city of Cleveland huddling in, in alleys, in Public Square, on E.4th, in the Gateway to the arena, everywhere. LeBron talks to his teammates about “every single night, every single game, every single practice… everything we do, we do for this city… we’re gonna give it all back…” He says, “Hard work on 3, together on 6… 1, 2, 3” and the whole city shouts “HARD WORK.” He says, “4, 5, 6” and the whole city shouts “TOGETHER.”
I don’t know how you responded to the commercial the first time you saw it, but the first time I saw it, I got chills. And I’m not really that into basketball, and I’m not even particularly a LeBron fan (K. Love is where it’s at) – it’s the unification. It’s seeing THOUSANDS of people huddling in massive public places, uniting and literally shouting the word TOGETHER. It’s the comradeship, brotherhood atmosphere, the “you aren’t alone,” the “we love you and support you,” and “we’re here for you and we lift you up” energy.
It’s inspiring, and not just because LeBron came home and I’m from Cleveland. As a Christian, I was inspired. No joke, I wanted to go to church on Sunday and make a call to all of our brothers and sisters in Christ to join us in a huddle, rather than sitting in our seats with the pastor in the pulpit. I wanted to band together that way with my family in Christ and lift Jesus high. That attitude, that “give it all back” “together” momentum that the Nike commercial presented is exactly the attitude and energy I believe we are to have as a Church, as the Body of Christ.
When I read about the first generation Christian church, they did everything together. They ate, did life, shared possessions, worshipped, prayed, and sacrificed together. They gave everything they had to Christ and His Church and they did it together. They were united as one because they were one body in Christ. And that kind of concord and harmony is what I’m seeing in Cleveland these days. Now that’s not to say that Clevelanders don’t disagree sometimes, there aren’t a few people who still root for Pittsburgh and some people who just don’t follow sports (or even that LeBron is the savior of Cleveland), but generally speaking, Cleveland has united and everyone has their heart out on the floor with the Cavs.
Why isn’t this feeling the one that we experience in the Body more frequently? We are ONE. We are family, adopted by God, brothers and sisters. We were all united IN Christ, and why aren’t we huddling around Him, shouting that together we will be laying down our lives, giving it all back to Him, the one who gave His all for us?
In Romans 12:4-5 Paul wrote: “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members to not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” He was referring to the difference in spiritual gifts that we are given to offer service to God and His people, but I really want to highlight what he said about oneness: though we are different from one another, and loved and valued as individuals, we are ONE BODY IN CHRIST. Each of us is loved as if His bride, but we together make up His bride in her entirety.
I long to and it is my prayer that we would see the Body of Christ take this and just re-apply it. Cleveland is not original in this, the Church started this. We were united by one Man, He told us how to live, how to unite, how to give our lives back to the One that gave it to us, and we lifted His Name high in worship. We were and are the biggest family the world has ever seen and I just feel as if we need to be reconciled to that idea, that we are one body, one family in blood – not our own genetics, but the Blood of Christ. May we support one another as such, defend one another as such, and instruct one another as such. May we LOVE one another as such.
John 13:35 – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Be family, Church, be one.