June 13th, 2024

By the Way: The gospel as a hockey card

By Scott Raible on April 13, 2024.

Ray Bourque, Lanny McDonald, Wayne Gretzky, the Hartford Whalers, the Quebec Nordiques.

Some of my favourite memories are in the early 80s when I would run with excitement to meet with my friends and trade our latest hockey cards.

Covered in the powder of the stale hard piece of gum that came with each pack, a weekly gift from my father, we would trade these cards back and forth with each other, talking about the stats that we read on the back of each card, because unlike our children, I grew up in an age without wi-fi, so reading the back of hockey cards was one way that we passed the time.

If I knew then, what I know now, how I would have valued and cherished those hockey cards even more as I grew up, not realizing at the time what their value would be.

Similarly, we have a gift of the four gospels from our Heavenly Father, lovingly wrapped in the New Testament, each a portrait of our Christ and Saviour. We are called not to be just believers, or church attenders, but disciples of Christ, which in one sense means we are to be studiers of our Jesus.

Each gospel gives us insights into the person and mission of Jesus through His words, His actions, and the miracles He performed and the lives He impacted. Christ’s stats, as it were. Some of us can recall last night’s hockey scores, or the latest trivial news story with more ease than we can recall the words and actions of our Savior.

May I challenge you to pick one of the gospels, like you might a favourite player on a hockey card, and own it?

I used to be fascinated by the colourful logos of the various hockey teams on the cards. The early church associated each gospel with one of the living creatures, which are just as colourful.

Mark as the Ox [Christ as the One who Serves], Matthew as the Lion [Christ the promised Messiah and King], John as the Eagle [ Christ as the Son of God], and Luke as the Man [Christ as the Son of Man].

Pick any one of those gospels and place it deep within your spirit by reading one chapter a day of your chosen gospel. You would have read your gospel in less than a month.

As you read, take notes of what specific words, actions, and miracles take place and make note of the themes in that gospel. Own it. Treasure it. Allow the study of that gospel to draw you close to Christ.

In my wallet I have pictures of my loved ones, so I can take them with me wherever I go, and look at them when I need to be reminded why I press on through hard times.

Familiarizing yourself with one of the gospels in this way, your own portrait of Christ, will give you that same closeness with Him. You might never read the bible from cover to cover in a lifetime, but you can read an entire gospel in less than a month.

For those who accept this challenge, please note I would love to meet over a beverage of your choice (I will even bring a fresh stick of gum) as we trade stories and testimonies from our favourite portrait of Christ. I have a Gospel of Mark and a Gospel of John if anyone would like to trade.

Scott Raible has served as an ordained minister in Medicine Hat for the past twenty years, and started Christian radio in Medicine Hat with Alive 99.5 and later served as an announcer and music director on 93.7 Praise FM. Scott Raible can be reached at scottraible@gmail.com

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