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Read:  Matthew 5:43-46

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

 Recently I was given tickets to the MSU vs. U of M football game in East Lansing. A longtime friend with several season tickets invited us.  Ronda had plans and she’s not a football fan, so Josh and I eagerly accepted the gift.  I am a MSU fan; I am also a U of M fan.  I grew up in Jackson, Michigan 30+ miles west of Ann Arbor, and 30+ miles south of East Lansing.  I get the competition and rivalry thing, but honesty, I enjoy seeing both schools do well. The game was a good one, though MSU struggled after losing a top player to injury early in the game.  There was something more disappointing than the score, it was the animosity between the two schools, which surprised me, even between the marching bands.

As Michigan pulled decisively ahead their marching band played “Hail to the Victors” after scores, successful plays, etc..  It was too much for the Spartans.  As U of M “rubbed it in” playing their fight song more frequently, the MSU band began to interrupt the opposition band by “playing over them”, the MSU fight song.  Also, the stadium management at Spartan Stadium played loud “stadium music” which drowned out the two marching bands.  It was a cacophony, and disturbing.

This past weekend another rivalry game took place:  the University of Washington played Washington State, a big game!  On the way to the rival stadium the bus carrying the U of W Husky band had a serious crash, actually overturning!  There were no life threatening injuries, but the U of W marching band didn’t make the game.  When the WSU band heard about the accident before the game, they quickly learned the U of W fight song and played it in pre-game activities in solidary and care for their rivals, and as a way of welcoming their guests!  When the U of W band learned of that gracious gesture they tweeted back, “Thank you Cougar Band!”

Thank you, indeed.  May we all learn from their witness.

Shalom, Pastor Rob Nystrom