If you are not an Eagles fan, you know an Eagles fan. You know that on Monday morning, that part of their life is going to be changed forever, or more deeply scarred than it already is. I know this sounds dramatic, but if you are an Eagles fan or you love an Eagles fan, you know this is true. The Eagles have forever been a good team, but not champions. Their lack of a Super Bowl trophy has created a well-known inferiority complex that extends throughout our city. It is the kind of attitude that makes the city expect to come in second in our bid to win Amazon.com's second headquarters.
If the Eagles win, the fans of the Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins can never talk about how they have won the Super Bowl and we haven't. Their win changes our identity as Eagles fans forever. When you are attached to a team, their identity shapes your identity. I am sure that you see where I am going here.
We are attached to the Church. I use the capital "C" here because the true church—all the believers attached to Christ by faith—are winners. Every local church will be a blend of people who have faith and who don't have faith. Every local church will be a blend of folks, walking with Christ and those simply attending events. That is ok. That is different from the Capital "C" Church.
When you are a Christian, you are attached to Jesus who defeated death. His body was bruised, battered, broken and blood-stained. His heart stopped beating, his lungs stopped breathing. Death and the sin that caused it won. Jesus was laid into a grave, under a darkened sky. Jesus' life was gone and death had won. On the third day, sin and death were defeated as his body started breathing again, his heart started beating again and the bruises and the cuts were healed. He stood up and walked out of that tomb alive and victorious over death.
Each of us will come face to face with death and we will win. In his tribute to Dallas Willard, John Ortberg wrote:
When Dallas Willard was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late summer of 2012, one of his reflections was: "I think that, when I die, it might be some time until I know it." He said that a person is a series of conscious experiences and that for the one who trusts and follows Jesus, death itself has no power to interrupt this life. Jesus himself said that the one who trusts in him will not taste death.
Regardless of what happens Sunday night, we wake up winners on Monday morning. We wake up winners every morning because Jesus was wakened from death itself, victorious over every wrong thing in this world, so that we, too, as His Church, on His team will always be winners.