URC Daily Devotion Tuesday 13 December 2022

Tuesday 13 December 2022 World Cup 12 
 
2 Corinthians 6:1-10 

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Reflection

Love of Football is deeply personal.  Actually, I acknowledge that this applies to any sport one is passionate about.  I remember staying with a ministerial colleague who had messed up my return flight to Christchurch and running me to the airport would’ve meant missing New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Final.  You could see the conflict in his face … and the relief when his wife offered to drive me instead! 

But since soccer is my great love, sport-wise, and our theme is the World Cup, I have chosen a text that is deeply personal to me.  It is one that struck me as powerful when, as a teenager, newly confirmed, I decided to read the whole of the New English Bible I’d been given.

Why did it hit me? Well, there was something about that list of challenges and the need for great endurance which, obtusely, excited and enticed me to the faith  Especially the last few words, which, in the NES run as “penniless, we own the world.” And I thought “Wow, I want a bit of that!”

Life, like football, isn’t easy and there are huge struggles. Indeed, as a fan of a lower-league team, my overwhelming experience is of battles against the odds.  Those who dismiss it as ’twenty two folk running around a field, kicking a ball’ hugely miss the magic, the misery … plus the hope!  In any competition there is only one winner and for most supporters it is bound to end in disappointment.

Ah, but then again every goal, brilliant save or vital tackle, is equally a moment of joy that lies in the heart, and remains there! 

In the KJV this text starts, incidentally as “We then, as workers together with Him” – again personal as it transpires this was the strapline for my parents’ church back in the 1940s. I think it points towards the life of faith, struggling sometimes but, hope-filled and full of team-Spirit!

Prayer

In the face of apparently impossible odds, impassable barriers, hopeless situations, remind us, dear God that we might appear to have nothing but, in reality, with you beside us, behind us and before us, we are never alone … and the final whistle has yet to blow! Amen. 
 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Peter Clark, Retired Minister and a member of Bridport United Church

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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