Chicago is an interesting town in that it has five professional sports teams that have many, many SERIOUS fans! The Chicago Bears, The Chicago Bulls, The Chicago Blackhawks, The Chicago White Sox and The Chicago Cubs! There is an ongoing rivalry between the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs. You are either a "Northsider" (Cubs fan) or a "Southsider" (White Sox fan). In spite of the dismal history of the Cubs, there were many people who, at the end of each season, said "Wait until next year!" Wrigley Field (the home of the Cubs) is always crowded on game day and the entire neighborhood (appropriately named Wrigleyville) is considered one of the top places to live in Chicago. There is just something about the Cubs that inspired the fan following. But at a time like this - a HISTORIC WIN - the entire city became Cubs fans.
Ken took to the streets of Chicago very early on Friday morning to participate in this incredible event of the celebration parade and presentation of the trophy. He hit downtown at around 7:00am and the crowds were already gathering.
In the matter of a few hours, it became very clear to him that there were an unusual number of people gathering for this event. The streets, and every part of the downtown area were jammed with fans. People just wanting to catch a glimpse of the parade with these hometown hero Cubbies and their long awaited trophy. Seriously, if you watched any of this on TV, it was a simply a mass of people.
Ken decided to wait out the parade at a somewhat safe distance (the Adler Planetarium) and then make an early escape back to the suburbs - before the crowds!
He captured this picture after the parade had passed by. He managed to stay well away from the crush of people and got safely out of the city before mid afternoon. It was interesting to read the news articles that showed over 5 MILLION people were at this event. As of today, they have increased that number based on photographs and calculations made by event coordinators. Whatever the final number, there were LOTS of people in the city of Chicago on Friday!
It is quite interesting that my children have seen all five of these Chicago sports teams win their championships! They saw the Chicago Bears win the Superbowl in 1985. Then the Chicago Bulls won the championships in 1991,1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998. The Blackhawks have actually won the Stanley Cup three times in recent years 2010, 2013 and 2015. And the White Sox won the World Series 2005. Add the Chicago Cubs in 2016 to that list and it is really quite impressive! Yes, Chicago is a town that loves their sports!
I confess here that I am not a sports fan. I really don't follow any of the sports that closely. I just have never been interested much in these games. But something really interesting is happening with this recent win by the Cubs. With all of the political junk just pouring over the airwaves, it has felt heavy and oppressive as the election draws nearer. Chicago has a somewhat dark past, as far as the political scene goes and has been known for its "dirty elections" for decades. People in Illinois have been heard to say "Illinois - the only state where the Governors MAKE the License Plates" since several of our former governors have served jail time for their unethical activities. It just seemed like there was nothing that could break this cycle of dishonest politics. For those of us in the outlying counties, our votes never really seemed to count much since Chicago always directed the outcome of elections. Certainly an impossible situation. Just like the Cubs ever winning a World Series.
Suddenly, with all of those people joining together to celebrate such a long awaited victory, the atmosphere around Chicago has changed. People are believing that impossible things can really happen. This breakthrough victory after so many years, when so many people believed that the team was cursed, has broken something in the spiritual realm. Our country is in the middle of a huge battle right now that will have far reaching effects on many areas of our life. This election is not just about two candidates running for one office. It is about the entire political system that has gone unchecked for years and years. No matter which candidate wins this election, people are suddenly much more aware of the bias and untruths in the media. You can't help but see that this impossible win by the Cubs, that broke this curse of failure over the team, has implications beyond baseball.
The weather has been amazing this last week. Warm, sunny days with clear blue skies. It has really been a breath of fresh air for us. I am so thankful for the wonderful weather and this reminder that impossible things ARE possible! I just love that Jesus - THE GOD of the impossible being made possible - always knows exactly what we need. Whether it is a warm, breezy sunny day in the first week of November or an impossible win by a hometown sports team, Jesus answers our needs. Even when we don't know how to voice those needs. No matter where you go today around Chicago, the people are happy and smiling. Anyone wearing a Cubs hat or shirt gets an immediate response from others passing by. There is a sense of joy and wonder. I know I needed this change in the atmosphere and I know that I am not alone. The election is a few days away. Ken and I have already cast our ballots. But for anyone out there who has not yet voted, let me encourage you to get out and vote. Don't believe that your vote doesn't matter or that this is an impossible situation. Take heart. Pray for the guidance that only Jesus can give and then cast your vote. Most of all believe that anything is possible with Jesus! That is true today and it will be true tomorrow. It will also be true on Wednesday - no matter who wins this election. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Join me today and breathe in that fresh fall sunshine. Stand a moment in the celebration of a long and hard won battle fought by a sports team to finally have that trophy in hand. Close you eyes and remember that with Jesus all things are possible. Relax and be refreshed today.
Jesus, you are an amazing God who shows us your power in everyday situations. Thank you for reminding us all that we can trust in you for guidance and direction. Holy Spirit, give wisdom to everyone who is voting in this election. Pour out your peace and grace over us all in the next week. Amen