What the Dallas Mavericks Show Us About Worship
We had a little excitement here in Dallas last week. Our Mavericks won the NBA Title. (For you non-sports people—like me, actually—this means that our local professional basketball team won the game that makes them Best Basketball Team in the U.S. It’s like winning the World Series. Or the Superbowl. It’s really big.)
The game was on the TV in our living room, and I (being a non-sports people) was working on my laptop in the same room. I enjoyed watching the Facebook news feed churn out all kinds of happy updates from ecstatic fans. Then the news showed over five thousand Mavs fans crazy happy outside the American Airlines Center in Dallas, the reporters giddy with excitement and the cameras recording people who looked like they were ready to explode with joy. Immediately, scores of people drove to sporting goods stores to buy t-shirts commemorating the freshly-minted champions.
This corporate fervor was so much more than simply being pleased that the home town boys had won a championship! Everybody was a Mavericks fan that night and for the next week, especially leading up to the big parade in downtown Dallas. People were thrilled by the almost electrical connection to The Mavs as a winning team – and the joy of being a part of something bigger than themselves. People streamed to downtown Dallas the night of the big win and to the parade the following Thursday so they could be with other people honoring and praising the heroes.
I was struck by this great illustration of our hearts' desire to be connected to the transcendent, to be part of something bigger and more important than ourselves. Our hearts were made for something greater than our lives and our individual stories; I believe our hearts were made for Kingdom living, and for a quality and quantity of Life that is far more and better than our puny little earthly kingdoms. And there is something powerful, almost magical, about being connected to a community of joyful people all celebrating the Something-Bigger-Than-Ourselves together. I believe our hearts were made to be knitted together with other Kingdom hearts as well.
People’s desires to shout out happy praises for Dirk Nowitzki (the Mavericks’ superhero) and the rest of the team was, I believe, a part of our design to be worshipers. We were made to worship—and if we won’t worship the One most worthy of worship, our Creator and Lord, then we will worship the creation. Such as the Mavericks. We are incorrigible worshipers. And there is such a feeling of “rightness” when we worship, because that is how we are made. Perhaps those who get the most excited about whooping and hollering at professional and college (and even high school and younger) sporting games, just might be the best worship leaders some of us will ever see, if they would direct their worship to the One worship was created for!
Whenever I hear people say they think heaven will be boring, like one interminable church service, I think about times like the Mavs’ win. Yeah, heaven will be boring like the Mavs winning the NBA title is boring! We were made for worship, and worship is joyous, ecstatic union with God and with other worshipers. So maybe, just maybe, all the hoopla over our team winning the title is an emotional peek into what heaven will be?
Bring it on!