This year’s NBA Finals is shaping up to be a pretty intense battle. With the Miami Heat’s win over the San Antonio Spurs last night, the series is now tied 2-2. (Side note: I call the Spurs to win it all in Game 6. I love seeing the Bugatti Veyron lose to the John Deere tractor)
Every time a championship series or game comes around for a major sport in America, it’s fascinating to see how people get caught up in it. They celebrate the players. They paint their faces. They don the jerseys of twenty-year-olds. They gladly pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to watch these games. After huge plays, grown men with jobs where you have to wear a tie to the office scream and dance around like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert (If the Oregon Ducks make it to the National Championships in football, I’ll be right there with them).
Why does something like the NBA Finals—sweaty men in tank tops rolling around a rubber ball—draw out such behavior from millions of people?
It’s because humans have an innate desire for transcendence. We were created for it. We want to be a part of something bigger, something beyond ourselves. We want others to join us for that same mission—there’s automatic camaraderie and fellowship among fans like I’ve never seen before. Ultimately, we want to celebrate that which is greater than us, that which is glorious.
This truth goes beyond sports. This is why those teenage girls faint at the sound of Justin’s girly pipes. This is why families travel to the Grand Canyon just to stare at it. This is why billions of people engage in some form of religious practice.
We know we were meant to be a part of something greater. In those moments, we don’t mind being small. We’re just grateful to be a part of it.
The reason we feel that tug is because it’s supposed to be fulfilled in God. The Finals is not the end of our desire to touch glory. Instead, we were created to celebrate God’s transcendence—His glory, His might and power.
The Bible describes some pretty awesome displays of God.
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. Isaiah 6:1-4
That is true transcendence. That is what we were made for.
Is it bad to enjoy the Finals? Only if we see it as an end to itself—as glorious within itself. Please enjoy the Finals, but understand that the glory of anything on this earth is a dim candle compared to the blazing sun. See it as a signpost directing our attention upwards, a reminder that we were made for a greater glory and transcendence. May it be like an appetizer, creating an insatiable hunger for God and His glory. Then go home and watch the Spurs win.