One of my favorite ministries as a Benedictine Sister is praying with student athletes from the College of St. Scholastica (CSS). Before the start of each season, I gather with the athletes and their coaches for prayer. I create services that highlight different values and attributes about what it means to be a student athlete at CSS and how through sports one can give glory to God while growing into who and how God dreams them to be. Undoubtedly, teamwork is always one of the highlighted virtues.
In the Gospels, Jesus encouraged teamwork among his apostles when he sent them out two by two (Mark 6:7). The fact that Mark mentions this detail shows that Jesus did this on purpose. Time and again, Jesus made it clear that he wanted his apostles to work together. He said, “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). The Apostles were called to witness to Christ by their example of togetherness. They were to foster communion and charity among themselves. The Apostle-teams were to exhibit oneness of heart and soul. Additionally, we learn that Jesus tells his apostles to team up with others to witness to the work of Christ in our lives. “If you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (Matthew 18:16). Jesus makes it clear that working with others is important.
In this year’s team prayer services, I used the writings of the Apostle Peter to paint a picture of what teamwork should look like. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:8-10). Can you image the sense of togetherness and the level of teamwork that could come from living as St. Peter writes? Undeniably, a team based on loving one another, forgiveness, hospitality, no grumbling, service, sharing, and stewardship would have a leg-up in any competition!