Yesterday was a momentus occasion for me. I went out and purchased my first Phillies hat since I was a teenager. I don’t know why I haven’t had a cap for so long, there really is no explanation for it. Growing up I’d have two or three at a time, included the ugly maroon color they switched to for a time in the 80’s, but eventually they fell apart and that was that.
Yesterday, however, that part of my youth was recaptured for a time. The Phillies “P” adorns my head once more. What hit me was why I absolutely had to get a hat for this World Series. I was completely enthralled with the ’93 team and didn’t pick up any gear, why would I shell out the money for a hat this time around? It’s very simple, really, for 2 out of the first 4 games of the series I’ll be down in Williamsburg, VA. The cap is important to me for two reasons:
- I get to “represent” while I’m away from home.
- It’ll help me find someone to watch the games with.
If I was staying in the area, I really wouldn’t feel the need to pick up the cap, but since I’m going away I want to be marked as part of the fictive kin-group, “Phillies Fans” at a time when our collective pride is swelling. I want to be part of the celebration even 6 hours away from home.
This, of course, leads me to wonder if I’m as passionate about being identified with the only fictive kin-group I’m a part that really means anything (“fictive” in this context just means, “Not tied by blood-relation). Do I have the same passion to be identified with Christ? Now, there is a good segment of the Church that believes being passionately identified with Christ means picking up some “fan gear” like hats and tee-shirts. Frankly, that cuts it for a meaningless group like a fan-base but not for something as important as the group called to be part of redeeming the world. A tee-shirt or hat might be nice for a quick smile and nod to other believers, I guess, but what I really hope for me (and for my kin) is that we’ll be so marked with Jesus that we don’t need fan-gear to show who we are. Do I have that? It’s hard for me to say because I’m immedately marked as a “pastor” in any relationship I develop (my daughter makes sure folks know it right away), but I hope in the small encounters I have day in and day out that people will go away thinking, “Something is different about that person. Why did they show an interest in me?”
So, I desire that the Phillies win the ‘Series – but my hope is that folks manage to see Jesus in me.
I’m still glad I got the cap though.