A lesson on faith and Vikings fandom
Vikings fans are the most stubbornly loyal fans. I have never seen them give up faith, even when that faith has been tested, over and over again. They also are great sports — when they won against the Saints, they raised over $200,000 for the charity of the Saints' injured punter, and that included elementary students from our very own Detroit Lakes. It's hard to find such loyal fans that are also so, well, Minnesota nice.
In some ways, being a Vikings fan can embody how one should be a follower of Christ. Vikings fans make a strong choice to be a fan, and once they do that, they stick to it. Similarly, once we make a decision to become a Christian, we shouldn't go back. There are ways of sticking to our faith, just as there are ways of being a Vikings fan.
The Sabbath is a holy day for Christians, and we should observe it. This is interpreted in different ways, but the traditional way is to go to church and take some time to relax. When it was time for the playoff game, I saw multiple posts on social media about all of the Minnesotans stopping their ice fishing at the same time so they could make time for the game.
Vikings fans sing praise (SKOL), and they take time to hold viewing parties. Or, in the case of Detroit Lakes High School, I have heard that there was even a ceremony to honor Adam Thielen and the Vikings. Our praise to God is a bit different than "skol," but singing is a way that can help us connect with God, and worship services to honor God are important.
One of the key principles of Christianity is to love everyone, including your enemy. This isn't always easy, but we are called to do it. Vikings fans are still kind to Packers fans, and as I mentioned earlier, were especially nice to the Saints when that team lost. God calls us specifically not to attack our enemy.
In our lives, there are sometimes miracles that we couldn't ever see coming, miracles that leave us speechless and in awe. Vikings fans experienced the "Minneapolis Miracle" when the Vikes won against the Saints in a way that was nothing short of miraculous.
Of course, life comes with miracles and tragedies. Sometimes there will be a touchdown within the last few seconds of the game; sometimes, well, you will encounter Eagles. When that happens, we can't give up faith. We have made our choice to follow the Vikings in the same way that we follow God—through both the trials and the blessings.
Certainly there is a big difference between following God and being a fan of a football team. We know that when we follow God, we have a happy ending of salvation no matter what, and we can't be sure that the Vikings will fulfill our dreams. But I think we can take the dedication and faith of Vikings fans and apply that to our own Christianity.
To the Christians and the Vikings fans — don't give up when times get tough or you face another heartbreak. Keep on loving one another, forgiving and believing as Christians (or proudly wearing purple paint and horns if you are a Vikings fan). The end prize is well worth it.