Sunday, February 14, 2010

'That they might have joy'

I’m catching Olympic fever.
It happens to me every two years. Six months before the games begin, until the Closing Ceremonies, I start to feel immensely patriotic, and even so for the Italian, British and Canadian blood in me, as well. My TV is constantly tuned to coverage of the world’s events, from swimming and wrestling in the summer, to skiing and speed skating in the winter. I'm even a fan of figure skating (which might explain why I'm still single).
Which got me thinking about something toward which I gravitate every few months:
Does God care about sports?
Athletes talk about their faith all the time. Latin American footballers regularly cross themselves before matches; Super Bowl winners thank God and Jesus Christ for their help that night; and Olympians claim they can feel God’s presence as they race down the mountain, luge or oval.
But to think that God actually cares about something so trivial as the outcome of a football game, soccer match or Olympic trial is blasphemous, right? After all, God, the Creator of the Universe and Father of all Mankind, should be too concerned with so much going wrong in the world, right?
Wrong.
The unity felt by athletes, fans and spectators, whether of a national team at a World Cup or Saints fans at the Super Bowl, is remarkable. And one of God’s purposes of building his kingdom is to see a people “one heart and one mind.”
If the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi would counsel his children to “be united in all things,” why would God the Father be against that counsel? And what greater instance of unity is there than on a sports team?
Man’s purpose is to have fun. After all, “men are that they might have joy.” And sports are fun.
So does God care about sports? Yes. Because he cares about us; he wants us to have joy; and he’s willing to help us in any endeavor, if that’s what makes us happy.

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