I wonder what it is that you are looking forward to this summer.
I’m sure for many teenagers, the month of June is one which they are wishing away as they look forward to the end of exams and the beginning of a revision free summer. For others of us, though there are many highlights of the month to look forward to, not least for me, the football world cup. One of the things I find fascinating about the world cup is that when you look around at other national teams you will see players praying, lifting their fingers in acknowledgement to God when they score a goal or even in interviews giving glory to God.
But what does God have to do with sport? The answer is actually nothing: well not in the sense that I think praying for your team to win has a chance to persuade God to intervene (won’t stop me trying though!) To my knowledge there is no record in the bible that Jesus played any sports or had any interest in athletics at all. When you think of all of the issues the world faces and the interests that God has, I don't believe God really cares who wins or loses games and athletic competitions. But what I do think He cares about, is what we do and the way in which we do it. The bible says in Colossians 3:17, "and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to god the father through him."
It doesn't matter if you are an athlete, a teacher, a cleaner, a doctor, a lawyer, a shopkeeper, a full time parent... God can get the glory by you performing your task to the best of your ability and doing it in a way that pleases him. God can use anybody in any position to bring glory to his name. Based on that verse, as believers we are actually instructed to do whatever it is we do, in the name of Jesus. And in doing so, it gives thanks and reverence to the one who has blessed us with the ability to do so in the first place.
At St Mary's, that is what we try to do, to worship God in all we do and offer each one of us the opportunity to give thanks and worship him. It’s why we now have our 10 o’clock Interactive Service on the first Sunday of each month to try and help families and those of us who aren’t used to traditional church to try and find ways to praise God together. It’s why we put on events, like ABC toddler group each week to help the pre-schooler amongst us find ways to praise God. It’s why we have a lunch club on a Friday to over support and a chance to socialise to anyone in our community. It’s why we support our local schools, in particular Charles Kingsley, to help our children grow up to with the skills and abilities they need for life.
All of us are blessed with some sort of talent or ability and whether we excel in school or find it hard, whether we are great at sport or couldn’t care less about it. We all have different platforms in which our talents and abilities are displayed. In our society, athletes have a big platform to promote things – for good or for bad. So when an athlete thanks or praises Jesus, it is not saying that God cares about who won but rather these athletes are just using the platform they have been blessed with, to give thanks to God. Here's the awesome thing about Jesus. You too can use whatever platform you have and whatever talents you have been blessed with to give thanks to God. So whatever you are doing this summer, give thanks to God… and pray England win at least one match!