VIEWS: 17 PAGES: 3 CATEGORY: Basketball POSTED ON: 4/1/2012
Jeremy Lin (Jeremy Shu-How Lin,), was born on August 23, 1988, California, USA, American professional basketball player, the main point guard, height 191 cm, weight 91 kg. Native of Fujian Province Zhangpu County, grandparents emigrated in Changhua, Taiwan, the parents emigrated to the U.S. in 1977.Jeremy Lin graduated from Harvard University, led by Harvard University basketball team won the champions of the Ivy League group, enter NCAA64 strong, and later signed with the Golden State Warriors, the first since 1953 to enter the NBA Harvard University students; the first Chinese-American to enter the NBAplayer. In December 2011, has cut the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets.December 27, 2011, he signed to the New York Knicks.
“Time on the Bench” Year B – 1st Sunday of Lent Based on Mark 1:9-15 For 26 years, John Buchanan has pastored one of the great churches on the North American continent: Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago, Illinois. The way John begins virtually every service is with a Call to Worship that goes like this: “Startle us, O God, with your truth, and open our hearts and minds to your word, that hearing, we may believe, and believing trust our lives, this day and all the days that lie ahead, to your love in Jesus Christ our Lord.” For the basketball fans amongst us the last couple of weeks have indeed been all about being startled. Now I admit, I’m chiefly a college basketball fan, but if you watch Sports Center on ESPN or even your local news or even if you’re not a basketball fan at all it would be pretty hard to escape hearing the name Jeremy Lin. Why? Because Jeremy Lin has been doing some pretty startling things. It seems all he had to do was to get off the bench. In today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark we find this first Sunday of the Lenten season is ushered in by the twin stories of Jesus’ baptism and his immediate testing in the wilderness. These are remarkably disparate events. On the one hand Jesus goes from an all time high — a moment where the heavens are torn apart and the Holy Spirit, in the guise of a dove, settles gently on his shoulder. A moment where the voice of God cries out to the world, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." A moment to where the world seems literally beneath his feet – to, on the other hand, being driven out into the wilderness to run with the wild animals. Jesus goes from being heralded from the heavens to being banished to the boondocks. Now rather than focusing too deeply on the physical challenges posed by wilderness life, I think it might be helpful to survey Jesus’ metaphorical banishment. In this case the “wilderness” is biblical shorthand for the outskirts of acceptance. The edge of acceptability. The place where those who have no place are banished. You know the place. We’ve all spent time wandering in that wilderness. For some of us it was a childhood of neglect. For some of us it was an adolescence of abuse. For some of us it might have included personal loss, prison, alcoholism, failing health or tragedy. For yet others of us it was just a long, hard slog — a trek that has taken stamina and steadfastness, to keep going – to find the right path and keep on it. In the last few weeks all those “sloggers” have had reason to celebrate! Why? Because Jeremy Lin has come in from the wilderness, gotten off the bench and startled the American consciousness! Some of you, no doubt, are wondering just who is this Jeremy Lin? Well Lin is a first generation Asian/ American who graduated from high school with a 4.2 GPA, aced the Math SAT and later graduated with an economics degree from Harvard. He is also the first NBA player in the history of the league to score at least 20 points a game and have at least 7 assists in his first 5 NBA starts. And the hype has been amazing. “Lin-mania,” “Lin-sanity,” “Lin-destructability” has descended upon a world of crazed “Lin-phomaniacs.” NBA Commissioner David Stern when asked if any player besides Michael Jordan has been responsible for generating as much revenue as Lin, responded, "I haven't done a computation, but it's fair to say that no player has created the interest and the frenzy in this short period of time in any sport that I'm aware of like Jeremy Lin has." All this hoopla seems to have come “suddenly” out of nowhere. But in reality, there is no “suddenly” in Jeremy Lin’s story. For you see Jeremy Lin is a “wilderness” survivor. Jeremy Lin was a great basketball player for years. He captained his high school team to the California state championship with a record of 32 and 1 while being named first team all state – but still the college recruiters didn’t come. His “dream” school, Stanford, paid him no attention whatsoever. So Jeremy Lin began sending homemade videotapes of his game exploits to a slew of colleges. But the only school that offered him a scholarship was a Division II school, Palo Alto. Now Ivy league schools don’t offer basketball scholarships, but with his alternatives limited, Jeremy Lin finally “settled” on a college hardly renowned for its professional athletes: Harvard University. As a Harvard basketball player — isn’t that kind of like being a Jamaican bobsledder? — Lin was harassed for his lack of muscle mass and his Asian-American roots. But, again, his play, on the court was outstanding. By his Junior year he was first team All Ivy League and the NCAA reports “was the only NCAA Division one men’s basketball player who ranked in the top ten in his conference in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocked shots, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and three point percentage.” Now it might be noted that Harvard economics grads typically don’t suffer too many hardships after obtaining their degrees. But coasting into a high paying Wall Street job wasn’t on Jeremy Lin’s agenda. He wanted to play basketball, but the unfortunate reality was and is that Harvard graduates have never been overly prized by the NBA. Still, Lin refused to give up on his dream. He pestered the Golden State Warriors to sign him – and they did – but then they assigned him to the basketball minor leagues, the D League, until finally dumping him in favor of others who they thought had more potential. Then Lin was picked up by the Houston Rockets, only to be “waived” again in favor of some new flavor. In the midst of the NBA lock-out Lin was finally picked up by the New York Knicks. The Knicks proceeded to park him on the bench until injuries and absences gave him an “in.” Suddenly Jeremy Lin, the guy who had been sitting on the bench became the star of the New York Knicks team. But let’s be clear – there was nothing “sudden” about this star moment for Jeremy Lin. Lin had spent decades perfecting his skills, practicing his craft, sacrificing for his advancement. He worked long hours, practiced and persevered, put up with harassment, labored at the jobs we all take to make ends meet, slept on friends’ couches, and kept on going. Jeremy Lin is now being lauded as some kind of amazing superstar. He is called Super-Lin-tendo. His story is dubbed Lin-derella. But in reality Jeremy Lin is a ditch digger. He has made his mark by continually working, chipping away at that which blocks his path, by getting on with what he had to do, despite what others told him. Jeremy Lin is a wilderness survivor. My friends the wilderness is a real and raw place. In today’s gospel reading Jesus is driven into the wilderness. In effect he too was on life’s “bench.” And just like Jesus and Jeremy Lin there are a host of people who are there as well. People who are struggling with their own reality. People who are put down and told, “You’re not good enough,” or “You can’t do it,” or “You can’t get out,” or “You’ll never make it.” But people who day by day, take the challenges that they are given and strive to forge a new reality for their life. Who knows? Those people could be one of us. It might even be you or me. The Greek word ποµον is translated as either endurance or perseverance and scripture is clear on its benefits. Romans 5:4 assures us that “endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Certainly, it is central to today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel to understand the necessity and importance to persevere or endure. Certainly each of us is called to spend some time on life’s bench away from the good times and the highlight reels, struggling to overcome temptation, dealing with life’s challenges and molding ourselves in Christ’s image. But this week as I read and meditated on today’s gospel passage it occurred to me that there is something more to be gleaned here. When Jesus emerged from the wilderness it wasn’t a sudden thing. His first public speaking gig resulted in his being run out of town and it occurs to me to wonder, if we had lived in those times would we have been one of the one’s who gave Jesus a real chance to see what he could say and do? Perhaps Lent is also a season to remember that there are a lot of Jeremy Lin’s in our world. People who just want a chance to prove what they can do, but who because, of a variety of circumstances are never given the chance to get off life’s bench. All too often I think that when we come to the season of Lent we tend to focus exclusively on ourselves – and make no mistake about it introspection is a vital part of what we are called to do this season. But I think that there is also the danger that when we focus so much on our own temptations, on our own struggles, on our own time on the bench that we just might miss the chance to help somebody else off of it. Obviously, I don’t know who that might be in your life. For those of you who are in school maybe it’s the chance to see that there are others beside your own clique that have gifts and importance – maybe you should look for a chance to include them. For those of you who are employers maybe it’s the chance to give someone a chance to show what they can do. For those of you who make decisions about the lives of others perhaps it’s the chance to err on the side of compassion, love and giving someone a chance. In the final analysis none of us know if there really is a star stuck on the bench. None of us know who might end up “startling” us. But as Jeremy Lin and Jesus Christ remind us – always be assured that there will be those who do. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
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