I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phillipians 3:14)

It is hard to believe after the months of planning that all our local Diamond Jubilee celebrations are now past. As well as honouring the best of monarchs the festivities were a great occasion for bringing people together and forging new bonds and friendships.  At the end of this month the Olympic Games open in London and hopefully we will experience, again, something of that spirit.

The original Olympic Games sadly had to be ended by the Emperor Theodosius, in the fourth century, on account of the violence and immorality accompanying them.  We should, perhaps, be grateful that when the games were revived the classical custom of competing naked was not also brought back!

These problems aside many leading Christians have been enthusiastic proponents of sport.  The Rt Rev’d David Shepherd, who played cricket for England, went on to become bishop of Liverpool. More locally the Rev’d John Lambourne, the late vicar of Salehurst, liked to use a cricketing analogy to explain the Holy Trinity. The Trinity, he described, is like a set of cricket stumps: from the bowler’s end they would appear as three; from square leg they would be seen as one.’ If you have seen the film Chariots of Fire you will also remember how the runner, Eric Liddell, saw his running as a way of honouring God when he won the 400meters at the 1924 Olympics.

 The letters of St Paul often draw upon sporting metaphors to describe the Christian life.  ‘I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’, he writes to the Philippians. 

At its best sport should bring people together in enjoyment; the fabled team spirit should also teach us to work together. It should also remind us to be grateful for the gift of our bodies and to look after them. Know that your ‘body is a temple of the Holy Spirit’ wrote St Paul, so use it to ‘glorify God’. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Father Michael

Posted By: valerie

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