I love following sports. I love their platform to tell a huge story through a small window. Within international sport we get to see underdog stories (Dodgeball the movie), dynasties (New England Patriots - before they took all the air out of the balls), individual dominance (Michael Phelps/Tiger Woods), as well as incredible stories of redemption on and off the court. Redemption stories often involve regaining the former glory or status of an injured, defamed, or struggling team or athlete. That redemption story may be lived out for 60 game-time minutes on screen but behind the scenes there is an agonizing struggle to return to what once seemed to be so second-nature and easy.
In 2008 we got to witness one of the greatest redemption stories in history, the USA Men's Basketball team, dubbed "The Redeem Team." Their mission was simple - win gold. After a disappointing Bronze medal finish in 2004 it was critical that they work as a team. They endured their fair share of dramatic moments but they eventually succeeded in writing a new chapter in USA Men's Basketball.
Their win in 2008 meant more because of the low they experienced in 2004 and the work it took to regain gold. The redeem team experienced redemption.
All things will be and are being redeemed. Actively.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:1-5
THIS is redemption.
This summer I got to experience a few different weeks of camp. God beautifully wove the theme of redemption into each week and the conversations that took place. It was as if many of us went into summer waiting to talk to people about God's redemption. The entire story of scripture is a story of redemption. We see God's perfect intended plan in Genesis 1-2 then from Genesis 3-Revelation we see God reconciling God's people back to God. We see the final picture of redemption in Revelation 21 - an Eternity with God, forever, in which there is no more mourning, tears, crying, or pain. Amen.
I love that at camp (or other times when we unplug) we get freed enough from our distractions to experience that same redemption over parts of our stories. We all have the chance to experience God's redemption. Some will choose it today, next week, or next year but eventually all things are redeemed. We are invited to taste eternity now. If heaven is eternity with God then our eternity has already started, what's holding us back from living as full inheritors of the Kingdom of God?