I like sports. Lots of sports. Though I've never paid much attention to professional soccer, curiosity got me to watch the United States vs. Ghana World Cup match on TV the other night. As soon as I turned on the TV, I was startled by the screaming and yelling of the fans, which never stopped the entire two hours of play; it was a constant buzz of pure adrenaline which peaked at crucial moments but never diminished fully. I felt enough of the energy on the screen to underscore what I had always heard: that soccer fans take their sport seriously, with something approaching a religious fervor.
Then I read that the Church of England has released official prayers for the current FIFA World Cup tournament. Not surprisingly, those prayers include some for the England national team. Here's a fun one: "God, who played the cosmos into being, please help England rediscover their legs, their eyes and their hunger: that they might run more clearly, pass more nearly and enjoy the game more dearly. Amen."
To be fair, the priest who wrote the prayers acknowledged that God is not partisan and there are bigger things to pray for around the world. He added, "My hope is that the World Cup would be a reminder of the joy of a nation coming together in a common cause - something that in itself is worth celebrating."
I'll probably watch the U.S. when it plays again. It's surprisingly easy to catch soccer fever, even in the middle of a rural U.S. living room. Oh, that a love for the gospel could spread so readily and ignite so much passion! Maybe some of you will watch, too. The rest of you might want to pray the following, also one of the official Anglican offerings: A prayer for those simply not interested: "Lord, as all around are gripped with World Cup fever, bless us with understanding, strengthen us with patience and grant us the gift of sympathy if needed. Amen."
YOU ARE INVITED... to a July 4 cookout and fireworks watching at the Motley home at 512 Oak Hill Drive (the road that goes up to Floyd Elementary School). We'll have: hot dogs, wings, side dishes, soft drinks, iced tea, and a good spot from which to watch the fireworks. You bring: a lawn chair and other beverage if you prefer. We'll be set up around 6:00 pm so come when you're able. If you would like to park at our house and walk to activities at the high school, you're welcome to do that. An RSVP with the number of people coming would be greatly appreciated. Our phone number is 745-5671 or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will be congregational meetings following both services this coming Sunday to vote on an offer on the parsonage: $155,00 cash, no contingencies, no inspection.
Oak Grove Pavilion presents Barrowburn, a Celtic band, on Saturday, June 28 at 7:00 pm. Mark your calendar and plan to spend the evening under the stars, enjoying great music and fellowship!
I wish you the warmth of the God's love, blowing through your life this week like the wind through the leaves. Enjoy the beauty of God's creation all around us!
Yours in Christ,