Football in Babylon

It’s homecoming in this college town. The air is crisp, to put it politely, and the leaves are already near their peak. At 1:15 I was whizzing down the highway with my sunroof open and Switchfoot singing loud about living in Babylon. Looking for a home where I belong and all that good stuff.

I passed the stadium where the homecoming football game was in full swing. I’ve always noticed how palatial, commanding, inspiring its architecture is as it comes into view when you first drive into town. Today it struck me how much like a temple it looked, maybe because of the endless sprawl of the worshipers’ parked cars. Everyone gathering as if for a festival.

I’m not the only one to whine out an analogy between football and religion, but what captured my imagination today was more positive than that complaint. I thought of all the delight, perhaps even joy, certainly fun, collected inside those towering walls and I saw its tokens on smiling faces walking the sidewalks. Then began my fantasy of that stadium a true temple and all those celebrators there for true temple business. This vista is the closest we come these days to seeing what a temple festival would’ve looked like in the days of King Solomon or even Josiah or Nehemiah.

For now it’s 21st-century America and I am only driving past a football game, but I am allowed to imagine those swarms of people busy with the happiest business of all, and what I know and what my children will know with me is that it’s more than mere imagination, it’s hope for a certain future.

Until I die I’ll sing these songs
On the shores of Babylon
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong


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