As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
‘We never lose Faith’
I am an ardent football fan and a member of Southampton Football Club. In pre-COVID days, I have been known to travel down to the city from central Scotland for many a Saturday match. My family are season-ticket holders and we try to meet up before and after the match. Until recently the mantra for the club was ‘we never lose faith’ and that was writ large on all outside corners of the stadium. Southampton Football Club’s origins lie within the Church, being born out of a local church team. In those days a half day on Wednesdays saw local teams playing football, many of the players meeting again on Sunday in the pews.
I have to admit, I naturally want my team to win, but that’s not how it works. We learn to take the rough with the smooth – the losses as well as the wins. All I ask is that the players have done their best. Not fighting their way through a match, but playing according to the rules, respecting each other, and acknowledging that sometimes the reward is a win – whilst on other days….. !
World Cup football is BIG business – far bigger than the English or Scottish Premier leagues. On the world stage ‘we never lose faith’ can easily become lost in the quest to secure TV ratings, points on the tables and payments to the players.
In today’s reading we note Paul wrote: “I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith”. I would like to think that throughout this tournament and whatever transpires from it, every player could stand and say I have done my best. As for not losing faith – I can but hope and pray.
Generous God, our prayers often come from us at odd times, – even at the start of a football match. Yet we are aware of your patience with us. As this world tournament gathers pace, please be patient when we plead ‘Oh Lord, they’re gonna loose!’ Forgive us, when we put football gain ahead of being put right with you. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen
The Rev’d Jan Adamson is the Clerk of the Synod of Scotland and Interim Moderator for Bathgate URC.