Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Blessing of the helmets
After moving to Paxton UMC in July, 2015, Pastor Brent Salsgiver wrote a letter to Susquehanna Township High School football coach Joe Headen: At my previous church I worked with the coaches of the surrounding teams and had ‘blessing of the helmets’ before the start of the season … I wanted to extend the same opportunity to you and your team. The letter was warmly received.
Coach Headen invited Salsgiver to a football team practice at the high school in September, where he offered a brief devotion to the team and a blessing for each player.
“God doesn’t really care whether you win or lose,” shared Salsgiver. “I don’t think God finds more joy in the winners than He does in the losers.”
Salsgiver continued to share about how God has gifted each member of the team with certain abilities to work together as a team. “What would your team look like if you only had quarterbacks? How about kickers? Linemen? No team would be complete if you only had one type of person … God made each one of you with different abilities. Some of you God gave great strength and the ability to block. Others he gave the ability to catch or throw.”
Salsgiver told team members that God had given them brains so that they could learn and think for themselves, that God gave them the ability to have compassion and to treat others with respect and love, and that God gave them the ability to laugh and bring joy to people lives. “These are things that God cares about, that you are using the abilities that God has given you. God finds joy on Friday nights not in whether you win or lose, but in your intentional use of the gifts He has given you.” Salsgiver challenged them to be intentional about using the gifts God had given them on and off the field, declaring them to always be “winners” if they did.
Salsgiver then offered a blessing over each player. “Almighty God, bless (player’s name.) Surround him with your safety and security. Strengthen him throughout this season and give him the courage to be the man you have called him to be. Amen.”
Continuing the outreach efforts, Paxton UMC provided dinner for the team prior to a Friday night game In October.