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Crowd Mentality

What do Iowa caucuses… Buffalo football… NY City Christmas lights… and Taylor Swift have in common? Curious?

Consider the case of those Iowa caucuses…

Those of us who vote in a primary state… who want to get in and out as quickly as possible… who walk past those who are campaigning at the poll site refusing to listen because we have ‘already decided’… and truth be told would choose to stay home and not vote if the weather is unpleasant… we struggle to understand the zeal of those who would brave subzero windchills… to stand in line for a seat in a meeting… where we will have to listen to a spiel about each candidate… just to have the right to place a vote for the candidate we have already chosen. That’s what the people of Iowa did last night, in 1670 precincts. They braved wind chills as low as -45 degrees, where frostbite can occur within 10 minutes of outdoor exposure. The candidates urged their supporters to be strong and determined, to risk life and limb, one candidate even suggesting that it would be better to vote and die than to miss your chance to make your voice heard. A voter voiced Iowan determination, “We are from Iowa, the cold never stops us!” Another Iowa voter was quoted saying, “We would walk across broken glass to vote.” While the turnout for the caucuses last night was the lowest since 2000, many still defied the weather to register their support for their candidate.

Consider the case of the Buffalo football fans…

Their team was scheduled to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday at 1pm, but a blizzard was expected to create white-out conditions. The Governor pleaded with fans to ‘stay home’, but knowing the zealous determination of the ‘Buffalo Mafia’ (as they call themselves), she finally declared a state of emergency that postponed the game until Monday. Gov. Kathy Hochul knew that Buffalo fans would risk life and limb to be in the stadium to cheer their Bills on to victory. On Monday, before the sun came up, the call went out for volunteers to help clear the 2 feet of snow that fell on the stadium the day before. No surprise, those hearty Buffalo fans came and shoveled… and shoveled… and shoveled… but when the crowds arrived for the game, much of the stadium seating was still covered. No problem! Those fans used their hands, pieces of cardboard, and some even brought their own shovels to clear their space for the game. By kick-off the stadium was full of faithful fans, braving windchills of 4 degrees. And those fans stayed to the very end, even though the outcome was obvious early in the game. The Buffalo Mafia was determined to catch every play, cheering their guys on to the next round of the play-offs.

Consider the case of those who visit NY city to see the Christmas lights…

6.5 million people visited the Big Apple this Christmas to see the lights in the windows at Saks 5th Ave, and Macy’s, and on the 80-foot tall Norway Spruce at Rockefeller Center. Local New Yorkers know to stay home because the tourists have invaded. The press of the crowds can be overwhelming, yet the visitors come back year after year to experience the ‘magic’ of the season found in those lights. The Bells have often joined in this crazy ritual, risking life and limb, and our precious little ones, all the catch a glimpse of those lights. This year the crowd was so dense we had to see the tree from a block away. By the end of the day, our feet were sore, but our hearts were full of New York Christmas magic, that will bring us back again!

Consider the case of those crazed Taylor Swift fans…

4.35 million fans spent an average of $1,088 for a ticket to see Taylor Swift live in her Eras tour in 2023. Those crowds did not have to risk life or limb to see her perform, they just had to sell a limb to afford the ticket price for that experience. Many have already made plans to go again… And in the meantime, they can satiate their desire for all things Swift by going to her movie that tells the behind-the-scenes tale of the concert tour. That movie sold 4.8 million tickets in just the first week of showing. Taylor Swift has become a billionaire from the love of all her fans.

So, I ask again, what do Iowa caucuses… Buffalo football… NY city Christmas lights… and Taylor Swift have in common? Zealous crowds, willing to brave bad weather, wait in long lines, and pay high prices for the privilege of being in the room… Seeing their passion, I am left wondering where is that zeal for the Savior of the world- the One who spoke creation into being, the One who heals and gives hope, the One whose grace opens heaven’s doors. Why aren’t our sanctuaries standing room only? Why aren’t Bibles flying off the shelves of Barnes and Noble? Why isn’t The Chosen the most streamed series on TV? The crowds sleep in on Sunday mornings… even our faithful stay home when it drizzles… and our little ones are busy with activities that keep them from Sunday School. The truth is: zealous crowds form one fan at a time, sharing their passion, refusing to be silent. The zealous believe that what they love should be loved by all. Do we? I am just one fan, but today I want to tell you about my Jesus who has changed my life and made me whole. I refuse to be silent because He is the hope the world needs…

Will you join me in forming a zealous crowd for Jesus?
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