Fans can be so great; fans can be so angry. AT that game that night at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Sydney Swans took it to the Collingwood Magpies by a significant margin. And everyone likes to win at their home stadium. And when you are visiting and trying to support your wandering team, in the home field of another team, it's doubly hard. I get that.
I took a couple photos that night of unhappy fans. They thought they were being unfairly treated. They thought their boys on the field were receiving an uneven number of calls against them. To be fair, the umpiring left something to be desired that night. I made noises some 100 metres up the stands where I sat with my friend Roger.
Fan. The word comes from the word 'fanatic' and has its root in the Latin word for 'temple' (fanum) which means it was about worship in a way.
Online Dictionary says, "1. a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or beyond normal limits
2. Informal a person devoted to a particular hobby or pastime; fan a jazz fanatic
a variant of fanatical
[from Latin fānāticus belonging to a temple, hence, inspired by a god, frenzied, from fānum temple]"
So no wonder it felt like synagogue. Conversation during the celebration. Action on the ground that didn't involve me, so we ate, talked, drank, carried on. Without interrupting the action. And when it was required we stopped and joined in with the celebration, the cheering, the noisemaking, and the like.
What is it about which you are fanatical today? Your football team, your car wash, your new hairdo? Is it time to yell at referees because you don't agree with them or time to adjust your interest level to moderation?
I'm not against wearing red and white, or having a mug with the team logo on it. But painting your face, or getting a permanent tattoo of your team's mascot-- that' s a bit much. Maybe some think I'm fanatical about my love for God and His plans for our lives.
That's fair enough.
I have been to his temple and found him there. I have devoted my life to his service and want to live for him. He forgave my sins and gave me new life. I am his. That warrants cheering for his side, being a fan and liking him on Facebook and in real life.
I'm no longer an unhappy fan. I remember the words of Stuart Briscoe, some 40 years ago in Pennsylvania at Jesus '73. He said, "Happiness is when your happenings happen to happen the way you want them to happen." But he contrasted it with joy, which is based on God's doings and not our happenings. Clever man.
Jesus doesn't really want fans anyway; he wants loyal friends. And brothers. (Since he's the judge you will always be treated fairly, too. Double bonus!)