SPORTS: The New Worship Service?

Vive la France!” “Vive la France!” “Vive la France!” “Vive la France!”

@FIFAWORLDCUP POST ON TWITTER    View image on Twitter 

It seems to have been a growing trend for the last 25 years where fandom has morphed from being a fan into something greater–something all consuming, and quite frankly mesmerizing, and frightening…people have become worshipers–now worshiping false idols that materialize in the form of teams and individuals.

••Even as France was preparing to win the World Cup, there were churches and pastors and members saying, “Are you DVR-ing the World Cup this morning, or are you going to stream it?” “Do you want to know the score?” (obviously not-unless I want to consider you as a person on the list in my head labeled: BIGGEST SPOILERS EVER)


All of this is happening at the exact time that most local churches in the US meet for weekly worship: Sunday morning † @ 11amEST (10amCST), and the game lasted approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes, meaning it spanned the entire continental US during the “Christian hour of worship.”


This picture below taken from Twitter is just one of thousands like it–expressing a sense of elation, and joy, and celebration…but, what strikes me are the “hands raised.”

PSALM 134:2 says,

Lift up your hands to the holy place
and bless the Lord!

I don’t see a holy place, and I can not confirm that they are exalting (blessing) the Lord. YET…

It seems as though this guy is lifting his hands toward his “Lord” on this day. Maybe it was Kylian Mbappe, or maybe it was Olivier Giroud…or perhaps it was the entire French National Team–but, in this picture there is an expression of worship (assigning worth) toward something or someone.  And, it doesn’t appear to be Jesus, Savior of the world. Remember, all of this took place on a Sunday (but it isn’t just the World Cup, and it isn’t just this particular Sunday)–it is all of the time.  LET’S LOOK AT ANOTHER EXAMPLE:


This one hits a little closer to home for me since I live in Saint Louis (STL).  So, let me say it out right, and up front–I have never met “YADI” and I do not know much about him other than he plays baseball (apparently he is really great at it–9 All-Star Games), he seems like a family man, and in general a really great guy.  However, in STL, people literally worship this guy.  We will go from least crazy to craziest in these tweets:

  1. PEOPLE PUBLICLY DECLARE THEIR LOVE FOR HIM (you can read multiple comments with the same sentiments)

2. PEOPLE ACTUALLY BUY HIS CLOTHING–to be able to dress like him(Not a bad financial deal for him, but would M4 clothing sell, better yet would anyone buy it, if it was under my name?

3. THE ODDEST: People Name Their Baby After Him

YES! It is true.  Not after a family member, not after a friend, not after someone who has influenced you, but after a celebrity, ALL-STAR baseball player. And they had the name picked out for years and were just waiting to have boy.

I know it seems so far fetched for many people–they will not take all of the this seriously, but Jesus is being replaced (yet even, has been replaced) by

  • Tom
  • Stephen
  • Lebron
  • Bryce
  • and so many others.

These two illustrations I gave are the most minuscule sampling of an every changing society. Take a look around. Cities have built huge, massive worship centers (stadiums, halls, fields, arenas) to allow the worshipers to arrive and worship the teams and players.  They parade the athletes around like they are royalty.  And some places shut down business altogether when the “home team” is in town. All while deceptively tearing apart the worship lives of Christians across America…because we too have so often, admittedly, placed these teams and players in front of the the things of the Lord.

FATHER, Forgive us.

So remember, sports are not inherently wrong, players are not wrong because they have athletic ability–but, us worshiping teams and players–that is wrong.  Let us join together and not forsake the worship of the One, True, Almighty, Living God. Let the words of Paul resonate with us–this day–everyday: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

What teams/players have you
wrongly worshiped in the past?

Are you willing to change that?

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