I was watching part of a hockey game a few weeks ago, and it came to a most interesting conclusion. The game was tied; it was in overtime, so the next goal would win, immediately ending the game. A player skated in and shot the puck at the net fast... very fast. The puck came ricocheting back, as though the goalie had stopped it, but it didn't look like he had. There was no telling "clang" that would have sounded as the puck hit the post... had the puck gone into the net and bounced back out too fast for anyone to see?
The crowd anticipated a stoppage in play, when the play would be reviewed. The television announcer was really, really excited. "This game might already be over!!!" he shouted, but players kept skating around the ice. They had to keep playing until that game was decided, until they knew it was over.
The game was indeed over. At the next whistle, the referee watched a replay that clearly showed the game had already been won. The celebration began, seemingly late but assured all along by that goal.
It's easy to see the analogy to the Christian faith here, I think. The decisive blow has been struck. The Anointed One, the Christ, has been sacrificed, and our sin has been forgiven, even before we were born.
And yet we keep skating.
See, this is what we're called to do. We know how this game has ended. We know our God is the winner, the victor over sin, over death, over pain. But as players, it is our duty, it is our necessity, to keep working in this world. To work for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry and the sick. To love and forgive relentlessly. We know, when that final whistle blows, (or trumpet, I suppose), who the winner already is. But for now, there's more skating to be done.
Let's play with confidence. Let's play hard. Let's play like it all depends on it. In some odd way, it might. But at the end of the day, when you're exhausted and wondering how much longer until that whistle, and wondering if you've fumbled the puck enough to lose the game, have peace.
The game is over. Thanks be to God.