Easter is a truly ‘game-changing’ week

Published 8:02 am Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Once a phrase comes into vogue, we hear it all the time. These days, one of those ubiquitous phrases — that is, one we hear all the time — is a version of “game-changer.”

The President leans over and touches his Russian counterpart on the knee and, very quietly, implores him to speak to Vladimir Putin, the incoming Russian leader, and let him know that there will be “more flexibility” with which to deal as soon as the pesky election is over. The only problem is that a microphone was on and the entire world heard the exchange.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (what a name!) asks a panel of political experts, “Is this a game-changer?”

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The question is meant to garner a response as to whether the President, seemingly a shoe-in for re-election, just made such an error as to render his re-election questionable. Was the gaffe such a misstatement that it could turn the election in the favor of his opponents? Was it a “game-changer?”

I guess the phrase, which includes an allusion to games, as in sports, began in the arena of sports. For instance, an athlete can be so good, that he or she might be able to turn the tide from defeat to victory or vice versa.

Certainly, the day long ago, unfortunately, that the University of Georgia signed the Wrightsville, Ga., running back Herschel Walker was a game-changing day and led to a national championship. Cam Newton, for Auburn a few years ago, could be called a game-changer.

Life has its game-changing events. A traffic accident can change the lives of everyone in a family. A doctor’s visit where cancer is discovered can be game-changing, so to speak. Natural disasters can change the lives of entire communities, or even nations, in a matter of minutes.

Not all game-changing events are negative. Just recently I was visiting with a couple who were welcoming a beautiful baby into their lives. The new momma had that proud glow of great accomplishment, as well she should. It was a very handsome young baby boy.

Having welcomed a little one into my family almost 30 years ago, I simply said, “You have no idea how much your life has just changed.” I meant every word. The birth of a child can be a very positive game-changer, indeed. There will also be some unforeseen worries and challenges.

Our country has seen some days and events that can be easily characterized as game-changing. The proclamation of freedom through a Declaration of Independence began an entirely different direction for this British colony. We became our own country.

Then we fought a war with ourselves that changed us dramatically. We experienced a “Day of Infamy” on December 7, 1941, and joined with others to fight a war that seemed world-wide. September 11, 2001 was a game-changer.

I don’t know what kind of history is taught anymore since I haven’t been in school for a while, but game-changing events is what history is all about. At least that’s the way we learned it. Specific dates, people, events filled the books and made the differences that brings us to where we are today.

I would like to call the events that we celebrate this week, as Christians, the greatest of all game-changes. There has been no other person in all of history who has changed the world as has our Lord, Jesus Christ. Even if one does not believe in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t alter the truth and wonder of what He did this week, long ago.

This past Sunday, we celebrated the approach of Jesus unto the holy city of Jerusalem. He arrived as a conquering king, but not in the way, exactly, that His followers thought. Many were looking for a warrior to finally throw off the shackles of Roman rule. He would conquer more than they could even imagine.

Some were looking for the continuation of his miracle working. He had fed thousands with almost nothing. Perhaps they would never have to work again; or be sick anymore. There would be deliverance, no doubt, but not in the way they were expecting. It would be even greater than their wildest expectations.

Many were jealous. This uneducated man had “dissed” them. He had poked fun at all the things they felt were important and they were laying low, awaiting their moment to get Him. They felt, in the end, we will win. They were wrong.

It began on Sunday with a ride into Jerusalem and He was proclaimed king. Some thought it ended on Friday with a humiliating defeat on the old, rugged cross. It didn’t.

This game-changer of all game-changers overcame all that earthly men threw at Him and brought to us a victory that still prevails and will never end. As we celebrate Easter, may we truly understand what eternal game-changing is all about.