Well, as much as it feels like it might just want to be summer for a wee while longer it is becoming obvious that fall is here.
The leaves are changing, last week of school before the Tattie Holidays and I was away for my Sports Chaplaincy UK conference.
It was, as usual, a longish sort of journey down to North Hampton to meet up with 100 plus sport chaplains to discuss and learn about a wide variety of issues dealing with sport and how chaplaincy plays a part in many different parts of the lives of those who love, play or both in the sports world.
I have had some suggest that Christianity is not part of the sporting world and I suspect that it isn’t on the day-to-day conscience of many that play or watch.
But I am also reminded that the Apostle Paul loved sport and used several images of sport in his letters to the various churches.
I am reminded in a book by Peter Lupson, ‘Thank God For Football’, that much of the early days of football was founded by churches/priests/ministers as a way to keep young lads out of trouble. Sadly that connection has been a bit lost in these more recent years.
A mate of mine that was at the conference is also a minister in the Heathrow area and heads up a group call Christians in football.
We had the annual draw for the churches’ cup and trophy tournament schedule and we talked about the various views of the guys playing for the over 100 teams involved and the impact of chaplaincy and the Christian ethos in their lives.
It was also good to just sit and chat at meals and breaks with other guys that love sport and Jesus at the same time, and realise I am not a lone nutter out here in Angus.
So, ok, back to Paul as he writes about sport in the Epistles. He makes a case for doing things with a goal of greatness of effort.
I am reminded often that God never called us to success but rather faithfulness and so to me that involves doing our best and Paul says in Philippians 3:12-14: “Not that I have already attained (achieved), or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (arrived); but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
This speaks of effort and endeavour not about result as such.
A win is wonderful in sport. But I have since learning about proper football learned that a draw can also be a great joy or disappointment.
In Ayr, BCFC got a 2-2 draw that was almost as good as an outright win.
But last Saturday’s 1-1 draw was a disappointment as there were chances missed and effort not as good as the week before.
In order for the team to come back in the coming weeks they will have to put the past into the past and make the effort needed.
So it is with our lives as well. We have to think beyond where we are and ‘press toward the prize’.
Praying that I’m pressing toward the right prize,
Rev. Jon Bergen