Tricycle Death Race

In keeping with this week's unofficial theme of Summer Camp Game Memories. . .

I was the teacher for a week of camp in a remote part of Florida. We often think of Florida for its beaches, theme parks, citrus and Miami Heat. . .but there are many very flat and very rural parts of the state. I am drawn to speaking in the forgotten realms of the South like a Baptist to a buffet after a service that went past noon. . .

The group that brought me in were very gracious to allow my five year old daughter Micah to travel with me. It was the first time the two of us could go on an extended trip together and she was very excited. . .

We played at the lake (this one was better than the muddy puddle one from SC. . .sorry South Carolinians. . .), ate together in the cafeteria, slept side by side on the dorm mattresses we pulled to the floor, and shared many a new memory as she got to experience youth camp ministry in all of its glory. . .including a masquerade ball where she got to dress up all fancy and steal the boys' swords, a shaving cream fight, and the traditional group scavenger hunt. . .


It was also the first time Micah got to see a full-blown Game Night in the gym. . .

One of the most popular games was the Tricycle race. . .which involved teenage boys racing little tricycles in a mad sprint, knees and elbows bent outward into points, backs hunched over the tiny handlebars, the crowd urging them to the finish line thirty yards away. . .

There were wrecks and tumbles, rowdy fans and photo finishes, it was pretty much the NASCAR of toddler racing vehicles. . .

My daughter loved those races. . .she would jump around at the start and begin screaming and clapping as they pumped those little pedals with over-sized feet. She would pick her favorite racer, asking a teenager the driver's name, then yell his name until the end.

During one race she turned to me and saw me smiling and enthusiastically asked me a question:
"Who are you rooting for daddy?"
"No one really, I'm just enjoying the race," I answered.
"DADDY! YOU HAVE TO ROOT FOR SOMEBODY!" she yelled in disbelief.

It was inconceivable (a correct usage of the word) to her developing mind that I could watch a race and not root for someone. Daddy, you simply must pick! That's how it's done!

Perhaps you've heard we're about to have a presidential election. . .

And in the midst of all the mailouts in my mailbox telling me who conservatives should vote for, debate sound bites analyzed by people who've already made up their mind, Facebook posturing, and absolutist semi-apocalyptic commercials about the economy all I keep hearing in my inner ears is:
"DADDY! YOU HAVE TO ROOT FOR SOMEBODY!"

You're right. I do have to root for somebody and I do have to pick someone.

And I made that choice a long time ago: I pick Jesus. The King of Kings.

What!! Are you saying you're writing in "Jesus" when you vote?!? Or even worse. . .you're not voting!? YOU HAVE TO PICK SOMEONE!!!!!

I'm not telling you what I'm doing on election day. But I will tell you that other than walking under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, there is no other pressure from the heavenlies to pick someone this election. . .

In fact, believers all across this country will be doing many different things on election day. . .decisions by God's people will be different, even after much prayer, study, and discussion. And that should be a telling sign and reminder to us. . .

We quote the prophecy every Christmas season: "The government will be on His shoulders". . .and that means not just the United States government, but the governing of all people groups. . .

The hope and prophecy of Isaiah is not about establishing leaders in a democracy and a legislature that will be elected by God to an infinite term and have congressional sessions together holding hands and singing Amazing Grace as they pass perfect laws for eternity. . .

No, the hope and prophecy is about the Kingdom of God ruled forever by the gracious and just Creator King made up of the peoples who believe in Him and have found redemption living under His lordship. . .The Kingdom of God is about sacrificial love, humility, justice and hope. . .and right now friends. . .the Kingdom of the United States is not about those things.

"You're just being cynical!"

No, I am not. I have great hope. I am actually doing what my daughter yelled at me. . .
YOU HAVE TO ROOT FOR SOMEBODY!!

I'm rooting for King Jesus to come in grace in the way I treat my family, my neighbors and my community. . .and I'm rooting for Him to be present in your hearts and lives too, and in this country of greed, materialism, narcissism, and violence. . .
but also in the communist countries of the world, and in the 3rd world (or worse) countries, and war-torn and rape-savaged countries. . .

I am rooting for King Jesus.

Mitt Romney is not Jesus and neither is Barack Obama. . .nor Ron Paul or any other person. . .

If you vote, remember that. . .our hope is in the Risen Savior not the church-going of a presidential candidate or his theoretical economic policies.

And our duty as believers is to the Kingdom of priests that we now belong to. . .not a flag, not a type of government, nor to just casting one vote every four years. We now live in such a way that declares there is another way: the way of light. . .
which is about sacrificial love, humility, justice and hope.


I am not anti-America but I am anti-the-kingdoms-of-this-world because I am Pro-Jesus. . .


Lastly, Evil will "not win" if your candidate doesn't get elected this week. . .evil was defeated at the cross! No matter who wins, next Monday you are still called to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. . .even if they voted for the Bad Guy.

I have a sneaking suspicion in the grand scheme of the redemptive narrative in our world that our hysterics and hype every four years is eerily similar to the mob enthusiasm spent in that rural Florida gym during the tricycle death races. . .

Matt O.

(If you comment, keep it civil.)