Monday, August 30, 2010

Always Our Advocate

On Friday morning my family and I headed to York, PA to participate in the wedding of my sister, Laura (here I am on the big day with my dad and two sisters). On the way out the door on Friday, I had a moment to choose which baseball cap to bring with me: Penn State, or Phillies. After a second or two, I grabbed the Penn State hat.

By the time I got into the car, I had realized why I made that choice. On Thursday, the Phillies had completed a rather embarrassing 4-game losing streak to the lowly Houston Astros (insomuch as something as relatively insignificant as a ballgame played by men I don't even know in the slightest could really be called embarrassing). So on Friday, I wasn't in the mood to be an advocate for the suddenly Fightless Phils.

All that had changed by the time I got back from York. While I was away, the Phillies swept the league-best San Diego Padres in a three game series. I don't really have a need for a cap today, but I'm pretty sure that given the weekend success, I'd naturally sport the red and white Phillies' gear as a happy advocate of the home team.

This seems to be a common experience, as anyone who has visited a shopping mall in the Philly area over the past three Octobers can attest to. Where did all these fans come from all of the sudden? The Phils' were hot, and so advocates were springing up everywhere. When they're lousy, far fewer people seem interested in being an advocate (I'm using the word advocate here according to a dictionary definition: to recommend publicly).

We'll throw a parade with two million people for a winner; but when the winners hit a bump in the road, everyone seems to want to abandon ship (including me, getting ready for football season with my PSU cap).

My weekend fickleness of heart in the face of failure was actually an occasion for having my heart stirred for the great Advocacy of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures say, "If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Now the word advocate is being used a little differently here, but the overall sense is somewhat similarly. John doesn't write, "If anyone hits a home run with their lives, we have an advocate with the Father." No, he says, "If anyone sins," Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father.

Jesus is my Advocate, and He does not suffer from the same fickleness of heart as I do with the Phillies. Even when I am at my lousiest, when He would have every reason to disown me, Jesus stands beside me as an ever-faithful Advocate before the Father. If my life was a sports' team logo, Jesus would not be ashamed to wear my hat, even though my sin is infinitely more abominable in His sight than being swept in a four-game series by a bad baseball team.

What a great joy it is to know that the King of the universe, the One who upholds all things by the word of His power, is an ever-faithful advocate for all who bank their hope in Him. Even when I am at my worst, Jesus is always at His best in His unwavering love for me.

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