Written by Glyn Norman
I realize I am taking my life in my hands by attempting to review a game of a sport about which I probably know less than almost every native-born American, but please be gracious and see if this makes sense.
I find it interesting, for want of a better word, how much apparent hatred certain teams can generate, whether because a particular player that you dislike plays for them, or because there is a history of rivalry between teams. Opposing sports fans often speak in very dramatic and exaggerated ways about their dislike of the opposition's fans... yet fail to recognize that they have something huge in common: a passionate love of this sport. In my sermon this coming Sunday, we're going to explore this concept of how to relate to "the opposition" whether that is to do with sports, sexuality, politics or any other arena in which humans disagree.
Get in the Game
There were long periods in the game on Sunday where one team's Defense or Offense were off the field because of such a long series of plays without a turnover or score. As I was watching, I wondered how true that is of Christians and the church. Have you been out of the game? Was it because of an injury - another Christian said something to you that upset you? Was it because of lack of training - one Sunday, you couldn't be bothered, and one turned into two and two turned into eight... and now you are out of the habit? Is it because you don't know what position to play - have you explored your spiritual gifts, or offered to serve somewhere?
Did you lose the playbook - I have spare Bibles for anyone who needs one!
Whatever the reason, this "game" is too serious to have active participants sidelined. We need everybody in the game. We are in a spiritual battle, and non-combatants get eaten by the enemy.
The Importance of Celebration
American football has plenty of opportunities to celebrate. Hey, you even have professional "celebrators" in the form of cheerleaders. We celebrate touchdowns, turnovers, interceptions, field goals, and final victory. We should celebrate in the church too. Every baptism is a spiritual touchdown, every decision for Christ a symbol of a life "turned over" to him, every brother or sister encouraged to get back on track, an "interception" before things went too far. Final victory is assured, and we get to celebrate that every Sunday at communion when we remember the cross, the winning blow that ensured final victory. Join us this Sunday and we'll celebrate together. Sorry though, no cheerleaders.
Now, where did I put my remote control. There's some English Premier League soccer I've been meaning to watch...