The last few years Chloe, my youngest niece, has been my Broncos buddy during
(Not to mention the energy it takes to get to a game, get through security, and finally plop down in our seats. Worth it! But one does not magically appear at a game is all I’m saying.)
A few weeks ago was a beautiful fall day and her dad had things around the house that needed doing, so Chloe joined me for the
Before the players run out on to the field, the cheerleaders form two lines that the players run through as they are introduced one-by-one. But the day Chloe attended, our beloved owner and a former player (Champ Bailey, who my dad loved and I tolerated) were honored for being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
As a part of the celebration, the Broncos introduced the top 100 players in the last 60 years. I’m not going to lie, I might have teared up. Seeing the wide range of ages, some from my childhood, some from my early adulthood, and a few are current players, was a time capsule of Broncs history. Two even hobbled in with walkers and stood to the side.
I kept screaming at Chloe—I wanted her to hear me and to understand part of the history—”Oh, that man is Grandma’s favorite!” or “He played when I was your age!” or “Grandpa would have loved this! I’m so sorry he’s not here, but I’m so glad you are!” Lots of exclamation points, friends. It was thrilling.
I about lost it when instead of the cheerleaders, the players formed two lines for the current players to run through as they were introduced.
“Chloe!!!! What a picture of Hebrews 11 and 12!”
Sports and faith, that’s me.
Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel, and the prophets.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.
The players ran past those who had gone before them. They ran past those who knew better than most of us in the stands what they had invested, sacrificed, and enjoyed as NFL players. They ran with endurance.
“Chloe, that’s a picture of heaven and those who have gone before us. And when you come running through the tunnel between life and death into heaven, look for me because I will be standing there waiting for you and screaming my head off.”
Can you imagine it, friends? The saints that have gone before us who will have also run the race with endurance? Today, on all saints day, I’m thinking of the saints we share—Hannah, Joseph, Mary, Paul—and the ones that are special to me and our family.
The Broncos players ran out with joy. And in a season like the one we are having, sadly not a great season!, the picture of the faithful saints is actually more powerful. It’s easy to run with joy when the victories are adding up, it’s another to run with joy when each step is an act of faith.
Regardless of whether you run with a spring in your step or feel that you are stumbling forward, we remember the cloud of witnesses, grateful that we do not run alone.