This morning while driving my daughter and another student to university, I was listening to the excited hockey chatter on The Fan 590, a Toronto sports radio station. Today, as every hockey fan knows, is the start of the 2005/2006 NHL season, a day long anticipated after a labor dispute robbed Canadians of NHL hockey for more than 500 days. Somewhere amid predictions about who would win Lord Stanley's Cup and complaints about the new rule changes someone said something to the effect that he was so glad the season was about to begin because "in Canada hockey is religion."
Now this is not the first time I have heard someone say that and I know that he may have been speaking metaphorically, but it struck me that for many in this country hockey is religion in that it gives meaning and significance to their lives, they follow it with great interest and order their schedules around the games.
Personally, I do not believe there is anything wrong with hockey per se, or sports in general for that matter, or all sorts of other interests and hobbies that people energetically pursue. My problem is with those who make these secondarily (at best) matters primary.
Hockey, football, basketball... are great as far as they go but they can never give ultimate meaning to our lives. As human beings we were made for God and made to glorify and enjoy him forever. Nothing else will do!
It is my prayer and the prayer of many others that God will help Canadians get their priorities right. That he will be loved and worshipped above all else, even hockey. Then and only then can we truly enjoy his good gifts without substituting what is of ultimate value for what will pass away when Jesus returns in his glory.