The Tunnel, the Field, and the Cloud
Last week, my wonderful, incredible, awesome wife gave me the birthday present of a lifetime. Several years ago, she asked me what I wanted to do for my 40th birthday (which occurs tomorrow). I told her that I thought it would be great to travel to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin and watch Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers (I was half dreaming because Brett Favre is my age and I knew there would be no way he’d still be playing when he turned 40!… little did any of us know, huh??). Well, my wonderful, incredible, awesome wife came through with a true surprise and presented me with Green Bay Packer tickets at Lambeau Field. Brett Favre is not the quarterback there anymore, BUT my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, was the opponent. Does it get any better than that? Cowboys vs. Packers at Lambeau Field. So last week, we drove the 960+ miles to Green Bay for a once in a lifetime experience. We arrived a day early and drove over just to look at the stadium. Since we drove all that way, we decided to pay the extra $10 and take a tour of the stadium. I gotta tell you it was super cool. From the $68,000 luxury suites to the inner guts of the stadium, the place just screamed legacy. The highlight of the tour was The Tunnel. You know, THE Tunnel that the Packers run through every Sunday out onto Lambeau Field to the screams of arguably the most devoted fans in professional sports (the Packers are the only professional sports team actually owned by the people of the city). Our tour guide led us up this Tunnel as they played a recording of the field announcer, music and screaming fans. At the half-way point up the ramp of the tunnel, this big garage style door goes flying up…. and there it is….Lambeau Field. Talk about goose bumps!
At the head of the Tunnel, just before you step onto the actual field pad are three large stone blocks. These stone blocks come from the original City Stadium that the original Packers used to play in before there was a Lambeau Field. These are the three stone blocks that every Packer player has stepped across since the team began. Greats like Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, Paul Horning, Bart Starr, Reggie White, and yes, Brett Favre, have all stepped across these stones. History and legacy oozed from the pours of the very stone work, grass, tarps, and bleachers around us.
I instantly thought of a passage in the book of Hebrews. I think many of the authors of the Bible must have been sports fans, including the author of Hebrews. In chapter 12, referring to the Christian life, the writer tells us that since we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” When I read that passage, I picture myself walking up The Tunnel, I can hear the music pounding, I can feel the screams of the fans, the cloud of witnesses. And as I reach the top of the ramp, the door goes flying up and I step into the stadium to the roar of the greatest of the greats cheering for me. Can you imagine Moses giving Elijah a high five and yelling YOUR name? I think that is precisely the picture the Bible paints for us.
No matter who you are, no matter what you are facing, the greatest of the greats in God’s Hall of Fame have walked / run the path before you. They have finished the race and now they have taken their place in the stands and they are cheering you on. The Packers draw strength from their fans. They call their fans the G-Force. This “cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews is God’s G-Force. And they are cheering for you. It should make your heart pump faster. It should make the hair stand up on your head. It should give you goose bumps. And it should give you the extra “oomph” you need to run, and run fast, the race set before you.
You too can relive The Tunnel now….just watch!