My wife, Barbara surprised me last Christmas. I know I’m hard to buy for because I have everything I want but she still wants to get me something. When I opened my present from her, I was truly shocked. She had bought me tickets to a Minnesota Wild game in St. Paul. I love watching hockey but the tickets are so costly I hadn’t gone to a game in years.
The game was January 14, which turned out to be the same day the Minnesota Vikings were playing down the road in Minneapolis. Yes – THAT game! For those who don’t know, the Vikings and the New Orleans Saints were battling for a chance to get one step closer to the Super Bowl.
The football game was in the afternoon and the hockey game was at 7 pm. The football game was still going on as the crowd gathered for the hockey game. So everyone was in the concourse watching the football game on the big screens. The emotion of the crowd bounced from sorrow to elation as the lead went back and forth in the fourth quarter. With 25 seconds left in the game, the Saints made a field goal and took the lead 24-23. It appeared that the Vikings were defeated.
With 10 seconds left in the game, the Vikings had the ball on their own 39 yard line, 61 yards from a touchdown. Then it happened. Case Keenum heaved a desperation throw down the right sideline. Though Saints were around the receiver, Stefon Diggs, he still caught the ball, evaded the tacklers and ran all the way for a touchdown.
It’s been called the “Minnesota Miracle”. It was the first game in NFL playoff history to end with a winning touchdown on the final play of the fourth quarter.
My intention is not to turn this column into a sports page nor to annoy Green Bay fans.
Here’s my point: When the miracle play happened, the hockey stadium erupted—just like we were at the football game. People were screaming and hugging and high-fiving with people whether they knew them or not. They only had a common love of sports and were united in the joy of seeing their team win.
As a Christian, I have brothers and sisters all around the world that I do not know--yet. But we are united in our common love for God and a devotion to His Son Jesus. And we are united in our desire to see other people come to know forgiveness through Jesus. Together we rejoice every Sunday. And soon, we will join together for the season of Lent, making our way to Easter, the day when a true miracle happened: Jesus rose from the dead!
Though we were not there, though we are separated, not only by miles, but by 2000 years, we still join together to rejoice in Christ’s victory over death.