Remember the last line of the famous poem Casey at the Bat? “There is no joy in Mudville, Mighty Casey has struck out.” Much like Mighty Casey, our Bulldogs struck out this past weekend to exit from March Madness. They gave it a valiant effort but just couldn’t overcome poor free throw and 3 point shootings. Now we are down to the Final Four; Villanova, Kansas, Michigan, and, shocker of shockers, Loyola of Illinois. If you are like me, when your team is ousted from the tourney, you root for the Cinderella team. That’s the Ramblers of Loyola! Go Ramblers!
The real story behind Gonzaga’s loss was losing their big man Killan Tillie to a hip injury. Being short the big man and one of our legitimate 3 point shooters was just too much to overcome. Couple that with the already mentioned poor free throw shooting and a 15 point loss was understandable. Gonzaga has been to the sweet sixteen 6 out of the past 11 years, included an Elite Eight in 1999 and last year’s 1st ever Final Four. Not bad for a small team from the Pacific Northwest!
Gonzaga missing one of their key players reminds me of what Paul said about the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:22-27 “On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”
What is Paul trying to tell us here? We each have individual spiritual gifts that benefit the entire body of Christ. When one person is missing or not exercising his/her gifts, the whole body suffers. We are called to be united with one another just as the Gonzaga basketball team was united for the goal of winning a championship. Our goal is something way more lofty. To become more like Christ and reach the world with the gospel. Just like Tillie missing from the Gonzaga line-up hurt the team’s chances, the same thing occurs when we are missing from the line-up at church, or at home group, or when someone is in need..the list goes on and on.
Let’s all strive to be united in our goal to reach the world with the gospel and become more like Christ as we attend church, home group, charity works, and any other task where God is using our spiritual gifts to benefit the body. Remember, when you are missing in action, we all suffer.