Eternal Win

By the time Sunday comes, the Toronto Raptors will have already played two games in the NBA Finals, for the very first time in the history of the franchise. They have stirred the hearts and imaginations of children in playgrounds, students in gyms and Canadians all across the country. A year ago, most Canadians had never heard of Kawhi Leonard.Today he could probably run for office. There is another voice on the Raptors Team that everyone hears, but few people recognize his contribution and strength. He is public address announcer Herbie Kuhn. Herbie Kuhn has been calling Raptors games ever since the Raptors came into the league. But more than being their public address announcer, Herbie Kuhn also serves as team chaplain. The team chaplain provides a 15-minute chapel service an hour before every home game, where opposing players are invited to come as well. With the intense spotlight shining on their lives, Herbie gets to put it back into perspective, that Basketball is a great game, in a complex world, and when it’s all said and done, it’s still just a game. They are loved image bearers of God in wins and well as losses. The chaplain also meets with the home team earlier in the day at an agreed upon spot, for words of encouragement and support. The team chaplain also offers bible studies and one on one support, nurturing their spiritual growth. During “ministry time,” Herbie will seek out ushers, trainers, security staff and scouts; whoever wants to talk; getting to know them and looking for ways to pour into their lives. All of that before he introduces the players and calls the game. All in time for tip off. One thing I’ve noticed about the Raptors is a spiritual maturity that I delight in. They are intensely gifted and gritty players. Language is usually pretty clean. Some of their interests go far beyond the sport, and they are not so full of themselves. I stand utterly amazed at the excitement and joy that a single basket with four bounces can do for an entire nation. And yet, it is also so fleeting, here today and gone tomorrow. But the voice of the announcer, who serves as an ambassador for this world’s king, offers words that reach into eternity and echo those of our risen King.                                                                                                                                Pastor Sid

Karin Terpstra