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Hey New Covenant, What Do You Say? The Cubs Are Going To Win Today!


Our son Zephaniah is one year old.

For the first half of his life, his dad could not have cared less about the Chicago Cubs.

For the second half, he has become an enthusiastic fan.

I blame it on my own dear dad, who in turn learned a lack of enthusiasm for America's pastime from his own father. We were passionate about our Nebraska Cornhuskers football, and we cheered Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, but baseball season was too long, too boring. Who wants to spend four hours on a beautiful Fall afternoon watching a bunch of guys standing around waiting for something to happen?

Lea's grandparents, on the other hand, were lifelong, die-hard Cubbies fans. They watched game after game on television, faithfully loving and sticking with the least of these. They passed away a couple of years ago as octogenarians, never able to see their beloved Cubs make it to the World Series, much less be on the brink of winning it all.

So I feel somewhat guilty as a bandwagon fan.

But I have to admit that I am enjoying it.

As almost everyone knows, at the end of every victory at Wrigley, as they fly the W, the crowd breaks out into a raucous version of Steve Goodwin's 1994 song, "Go, Cubs, Go!"

Matthew Westerholm, the worship pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, recently wrote a thoughtful meditation in light of how Cubs fans sing this song. He writes:

You can literally hear it being sung from a mile away. By every objective sense, speaking as a songwriter, it is one of the most inane songs ever written. Here’s the line that appears in both the verse and the chorus:

Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today!

The melody does not improve the lyrics.

But if you find a hint of ridicule in this description, you couldn’t be more wrong. Again, my enthusiasm for my team endears me to traditions I might otherwise laugh at or reject.

If you think about it, it says something fairly extraordinary about the Cubs, as a baseball team and an organization, that its fans gladly show their love for their team in such unabashed ways. It’s compelling to listen to tens of thousands of people singing this somewhat silly song at the top of their lungs. Elderly fans sing with children, and wealthy fans in luxury suites sing with working class “bleacher bums” — all united in the euphoria of victory.

Matthew then goes on to make a surprising application to the church:

Now, imagine someone after a Cubs victory turning to his neighbor and saying, “This song is corny and old-fashioned. It’s not my style.” A thoughtful neighbor would respond, “You’re missing the point. Our team just won!”

Perhaps that disconnect between the victory and its celebration is at the heart of some of the squabbles over preferences in our worship services.

We should not evaluate a worship service like we evaluate a concert hall recital. These performances are evaluated for their rhythmic accuracy, perfection of pitch, and attention to historical nuance.

We also should not evaluate a worship service like a rock concert. These shows have goals of jaw-dropping spectacle, daring stage antics, and sharing the same experience with a thousand other people of the same demographic.

Christian worship services have always had other goals. The earliest disciples gathered together on the first Sunday morning with the breathless exuberance of eyewitnesses. They came together to bear witness that Jesus Christ accomplished the greatest victory in history. He had risen from the grave, they had seen it, and they gathered to celebrate that victory and contemplate its implications.

I think you'll enjoy reading the whole meditation.  

Here is the link:

And if you're wondering: Yes, I do think the Cubs are going to win today!