Cumberland Times-News

August 14, 2008

Don't just go to church, be the church

David Sandvick, Columnist

We are in the middle of the summer Olympics and one can't help but root for the U.S. of A. (that is if you're from here, of course). I've watched some rowing, volleyball, gymnastics, swimming, and basketball and find it an extraordinary opportunity to see such gifted athletes gathered together in one place competing at such a high level in the most popular sports in the world.

I suppose that's why I wonder about the decision made several years ago to eliminate baseball and softball from the 2012 Olympic games. Now, it seems to me that when someone mentions summer sports, those two just leap off the page.

Now, it's not my intention to belittle any sport, but to single out baseball while keeping synchronized diving just seems wrong. And as much as I love badminton, it still doesn't seem like a sport to keep instead of baseball.

I suppose our vastly varying interests are what make our world so unique and the thrill of winning any sport so powerful. But no matter what the game, the words of Olympian Jesse Owens still ring true, "If you don't try to win you might as well hold the Olympics in somebody's back yard."

I think the same attitude applies for church-going. If all we want to do is sneak in the back door, say a silent prayer, and leave without interacting with anyone, perhaps we could stay home and do that in the back yard.

God designed his church to be a place of renewal, worship and encouragement. It is our chance to make a difference in other's lives and become closer to God ourselves. A good church helps us be who God wants us to be. So if those aren't the reasons we attend, what's the point? Don't just go to church this weekend, be the church.

As for Olympic baseball and badminton, I'm for keeping both and maybe adding a "Rockem', Sockem', Robots" competition.

David Sandvick is the pastor of First English Baptist Church in Frostburg.