It has now officially hit us, this social phenomenon known as March Madness. The tournament starts today with 64 teams squaring off leading up the national championship April 6th in Indianapolis. It is college basketball at its finest.
Watch out for my Alma mater Davidson Wildcats, who this year received their first at large bid in the school's history as they finished as the regular season champions of the Atlantic 10 in their very first season in the league. Like the Atlanta Hawks, they play great team basketball with lots of motion and pick and rolls and shoot the lights out from the three point line.
I pick them to go all the way...not really. It's only wishful thinking. Like so many others, I have Kentucky winning it all, making a clean, undefeated sweep into the annals of college basketball history. But I do expect tiny Davidson (with a student population under 2,000) to beat Iowa in the first round upset! My brackets are set, and I am convinced that this is my year to win my bracket challenge (you are going down, Sam Napier!).
Calling it "March Madness" is appropriate for a college hoops fan. After all, "madness," according to Webster's Dictionary, is "showing strong liking and enthusiasm."
As I and many of you are mad about sports, it begs the question, am I also mad about the Lord? Do I truly have a strong liking and enthusiasm for my God.
The apostle Paul surely did. We see that through the book of Acts as he shares the good news about Jesus throughout the Roman world. He is driven, determined, and passionate, and we the church today are beneficiaries of his "madness."
In one of Paul's last conversations before being sent to Rome where his life ends, Paul is speaking with Governor Festus and King Agrippa in Caesarea. He shares his faith and tells of his own conversion. He then gets to the heart of the faith saying, Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, to do works befitting repentance.
His words nearly convert the king. Who knows, maybe eventually the King did become a Christian. But there is no doubt that Paul's "madness" for his Lord did so much to help start the Christian church.
During this season of Lent, may we hear the three keys for being "mad" for God that Paul shared with the King: repent, turn to God, do works befitting repentance. May it be so as we continue our journey to the cross-and to "March Madness."
Prayer for Today
O God, during our Lenten journey, may "March Madness" remind us of our need to be utterly mad for you. Amen.