Perspectives by Rev. Clarence Witten


For the Love of Hockey

Tuesday night is a highlight of my week. It’s the night that a bunch of us guys get together at the arena to play some pretty decent hockey – the good old fashioned kind, not part of any league, not played with refs, just two teams going at it. Why?

Why do these guys go to out late in the evening (likely waking up groggy the next morning) to play Canada’s favourite sport week after week? (And there are 10s of 1000s doing the same thing all across this great land of ours.) 

Why? Dreams of glory are long past. If you play too intensely some guy might mutter that there are no scouts in the house. Neither are there any fans in the stands. And of course nobody gets paid a plug nickel.

In fact, after we lose, some guy might say, “No big deal. We’re all getting paid the same.” So why do these guys go out? Sure, it’s to get out and spend time with the guys. And it’s to get a bit of a workout. Some of us older guys (there’s a few of those, no offense) may be trying to offset aging, as if that’ll ever happen.

So why do guys all through the week and in arenas everywhere keep playing? 

I’d venture to say that for the most part it’s for the love of the game. Pure and simple.

When you think about it, that’s why we do lots of things. Out of love. Why do we crawl out of bed and head off to work everyday? Maybe it’s because we love our jobs. And likely needing the money has a lot to do with it. 

But I suggest that for many of us, it’s out of love for our families. Right? Why do we make meals and do laundry for our families? Why do we run ourselves ragged driving our kids here and there? I figure it’s because of love, love, love.

Love for someone or something is a great motivator. Because of love, we buy flowers. Because of love, we help out a buddy. Because of love, we work for the Food Bank. 

When you love, you don’t need a pat on the back for what you do. You don’t need people to notice.

If you get this it’s easy to “get” God. Everything he’s ever done, he did out of love. Think about it. 

Why did he make such a gorgeous world? Out of love for us. Why did he send his son into this world? Out of love for us. Why did his son Jesus suffer and die for the sins of this world. Out of love for us. People really do amazing and even surprising things motivated by love.

Of course the same is true of those who have personally discovered the love God has for them. Overwhelmed by God’s love, they love God in return. That love motivates them to do things for God, things like serving others, caring for the poor, or fighting for justice. They even do things like going to church or living clean lives.

Love. It makes the world go round. It’s why we do much of what we do. Whether it’s staying up late for a game of hockey or waking up early to head off to work. 

The preacher inside me would say, may all that love we see around us (and all it motivates us to do), help us see that love still higher and deeper than all our love put together, God’s. Just as we are, with all our failures, he loves us and offers us forgiveness in his son. In his love he waits for us to respond. To admit our need and receive his love.


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