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March Madness

It's now springtime in Kentucky, and in the state for college basketball, that can only mean one thing: March Madness is upon us. Everyone is about to spend the next month glued to their television screens, cheering on the Wildcats and anyone who plays against Duke. (If you prefer Duke or a non-UK Kentucky team, I will pray for your salvation.) I deeply suspect the "madness" in March Madness describes the fans as much as the tournament itself.

Few things manage to captivate us the way big sports do. Whether it's the NCAA tournament or the Super Bowl, we're going to get together, throw parties, wear the right colors, or even paint our bodies so we can watch "the big game." We spend large sums of money on merchandise for our favorite team. We even cancel church services sometimes to accommodate those who are watching the game -- no one wants to pay to keep the lights on in an empty church building. We go too over the top for our sports, and "madness" is as good a word as any to describe what we do.

I once saw something saying, "Of course church isn't a concert. People show up on time for concerts. People participate at concerts. Concert attendance doesn't dwindle with the 'Niners are playing." All of this is true. We, as a people, even as Christians, seem to prefer our entertainment to our worship. If the first thing we cancel when there's a scheduling conflict is our church attendance, what does that say about our priorities? Is basketball our new god? It's certainly not a matter of attention span; I've never seen a church service run as long as a game . . . or an entire tournament. It's a matter of the heart.

I'm not saying you shouldn't go ahead and fill in your brackets this year. Have fun; enjoy things! But keep the Main Thing the main thing. Come to church as excited as you are when you're watching the big game. Show the world you love being a child of God.

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