My college alma mater recently won the college world series in baseball. We were ecstatic! This was our first EVER national championship. Even a month later we are still on top of the world reviewing the games, ordering t-shirts and even making plans to go touch the trophy on the trophy tour. There is one glitch for me, however. I live in the town that is home to my alma mater’s arch rival. The celebrations in this town for my alma mater were nil. A few friends have sent me congratulatory messages, but those are few and far between. We almost have a secret society of those that wear the maroon and white in our town.
Even though I have lived in this town for over three decades I am often hesitant to share my allegiance for my beloved alma mater. The reason for my hesitancy is not because I lack dedication and love for my university. My hesitancy arises because upon occasion I have been bullied. I have seen social media posts making fun of the sticker on my car with harsh words of hatred. I have had restaurants state that they won’t serve me because of an university affiliated credit card. I have had co-workers speak of my university with hatred and disdain. I could go on and on.
On Sunday our pastor delivered a very poignant message. He stated that fear often leads to anger. As I thought about it I agreed. Do I not sport my school colors out of fear of someone making fun of me? Do I quell my excitement about my team wins due to ostracization by workers around me? Many times the answer is yes. After the fear subsides then the anger comes. I begin to avoid or even dislike some of my co-workers. I may even secretly celebrate when their team is unsuccessful. Fear does drive anger. However, in lieu of this winning event I have become bolder. I can’t contain my excitement this time….we were not the favorite team but we played with all that we had and we rose to the top of the heap. I’m sporting the t-shirts. I’m posting on social media. Yes, I’m proud to wear the maroon and white.
As I think on my allegiances I wonder what Jesus would think. However, I don’t have to wonder for long because the scripture is clear. Romans 1:16 says: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. My allegiance is misplaced. Yes, I’m proud of my school. But my true allegiance is with Christ. Everything else should pale in comparison. Instead of wearing maroon I ought to display red, because Jesus covered me with his blood and washed me white as snow. Do I fear sharing the gospel with others? Do I become angry when they try to enter into rebuttal with their scientific “facts” or philosophical jargon? That shouldn’t stop me from sharing about my true allegiance to God. What colors do I wear? What do others see? What do I get excited about?
I might still occasionally yell “Hail State”…but on a daily basis I will shout “Hail to Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Now that is a cheer worth shouting from the rooftops!