The Sermon of the Six Nations
By Fin Sheridan
If you’re a rugby fan, then this is one of your favourite parts of the year. If you live with a rugby fan then this might be one of your least favourite parts of the year. The RBS 6 Nations is one of the most exciting sports events in the calendar. Played between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy, the competition is every bit as fierce as you’d expect for 6 nations in close proximity, all with long histories.
Rugby, as much as any other sport, is a pastime filled with passion. Thousands of supporters will spend thousands of pounds crossing the borders of the participating countries. They’ll pack out stadiums, pubs, public spaces. Singing will fill the air as the broad shouldered giants crash into one another on the field. Tears will fill eyes as national anthems ring out into the sky. The players themselves are men of passion: after all, you have to be fairly committed to take the physical punishment that they undergo during the tournament.
“Observing the world of sports is like hearing a message preached.”
What does this have to do with faith? Well, perhaps the dedication of sports fans has something to teach us. For many, this will be a focal point of their lives: money, planning, effort and priorities all revolving around the handful of weekends the games are played over. The players, subjecting themselves to vigorous training, physical danger and risk of losing their reputation, are completely focussed on their team, their country and the greater prize than self promotion. We would do well to learn from such discipline. How many times do we skip the practices of bible reading, prayer and fasting in favour of lesser activities?
Observing the world of sports is like hearing a message preached. People talking, singing and cheering about what matters most to them, the dedication and total allegiance to a flag or team. There’s nothing half hearted about a proud fan, bellowing at the pitch, arms waving in excitement. I don’t know about you but my passion for eternal things, things that really matter, can often look weak in comparison. Maybe there’s a sermon in the 6 Nations?