By Ross Engel –
Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow!
I have been a Cubs fan for my entire life. Over the years, I have caught my fair share of crap from people, especially since I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago where White Sox fans seemed to reign. I grew up listening to Steve Stone and Harry Caray calling the Cubs games (they were so much better than Joe Buck). I even recall quite fondly the WGN pregame intro to Cubs baseball back in the 80s (they used Van Halen’s, “Jump!”). Wrigley Field is a great park to watch a ball game, I even remember how big of a deal it was back in 1988 when Wrigley got lights and had their first night-time ball game!
As a Cubs fan, I’m not used to watching baseball in October, and certainly not at all in November! Our fan mantra at the start of the season would always be: “Maybe this year is our year.” However, this would soon be cut short well before September, and instead we’d start chanting: “Maybe next year will be our year.”
Hope springs eternal, right?
You can say a lot of things about Cubs fans. We’re gluttons for punishment. We’re used to suffering. We’ve waited a long time for this. But Cubs fans have always had their eyes on the future and confidently (and maybe even a little foolhardily at times) believed that maybe this year is our year, and if not, next year will definitely be our year.
Years of patience finally have paid off. No longer are my Cubbies the losing team. The “W” flies over Game 7 of the World Series and the Commissioner’s Trophy is securely in the hands of the Cubs. Go Cubs Go! They’re singing in Chicago today!
Cubs fans aren’t the only people that have hopeful eyes set on a glorious future. There is another group of people that live with a similar mantra, day after day, year after year, “Maybe today will be the day.” A beloved seminary professor of mine had that sentiment framed on his desk, simple words: “Maybe today.”
Just as faithful Cubs fans have gone through their lives saying and believing, “Maybe this year,” faithful Christians go through their lives saying, “Maybe today will be the day.” Maybe today will be the day that Christ returns. Maybe today will be the Last Day or maybe today will be my last day.
Jesus tells us in Matthew’s Gospel that “No one knows the day or the hour” when He will return. In parables, He teaches that His return will be suddenly, like a thief in the night. He teaches us this so that we would be prepared for His coming, that we might watch and wait, expecting Him to return at any moment.
But what does it mean to live in this kind of hopeful anticipation? Does it mean we just sit around waiting for either Jesus’ return—the End of the Age—or our deaths? That would make for a pretty miserable existence! There is a story about Martin Luther once being asked what he would do if he knew that Jesus would be returning tomorrow. While I couldn’t find this in Luther’s work, Lutheran folklore says that he responded to the question saying, “I would plant an apple tree.”
No one knows the day or the hour when our Lord will return, but as we wait in hopeful anticipation for that joyous return, we busy ourselves with the many vocations that God has given us. We love our neighbors, care for our families, and we faithfully do our jobs, along with all the other tasks that God gives us. As we do these things, we rest securely in the knowledge that none of those things earn us favor with God or pave our way to forgiveness, life, or eternal salvation. We live our lives, gladly doing the tasks our Lord gives us, knowing and believing that our salvation rests in Christ and Christ alone. His perfect life, His death on the cross, His resurrection, and His blessed gift of faith to us is what purchases and wins us from sin, death, and the grave!
And so we wait. We know that Jesus will return on the Last Day because He has promised it in His Word. It is a guarantee, so we wait for it with full confidence.
Who knows, maybe it’ll be today. Maybe it will happen tomorrow. When we live with expectant hope, each day is an opportunity for us to live in repentance and trust, with eyes wide awake and ready to welcome our returning Savior and Lord. On that day, we won’t be shouting “Holy Cow,” but rather, our voices will join together with all the saints of every time and every place and we will proclaim in joyous chorus, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.”
On that day, when Jesus returns and restores all creation, we’ll fly the real “W” forever!
Written while watching my Cubs win Game 7 of the World Series and enjoying a sip or two of Woodford Reserve Brandy Cask Finished Bourbon and biting all my fingernails off!