Good morning, I'm the Rev Steve Page from St Patrick's Anglican Church, and you're listening to the Daily Devotional moment, sponsored by the Hudson Bay Ministerial.
I don't know how many times, since I moved to Hudson Bay, that I have seen a grand idea shot down because of the popularity of local sports. Many times, a possible activity for children or parents or families has come up at our church leadership meetings, only to have someone deflate it by saying, “That will only work until hockey starts.” The implication being that nothing we do for church activities can compete against hockey.
So.. if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Well, sort of.
The world of sport is about competition and winning and championships, and of course it's about lots more than that, too. And in the struggle, in the competition, in the sportsmanship, in the challenges overcome, we can find lots of lessons that will inspire our spiritual life, too.
Because the Bible does use sports and athletic imagery from time to time. It's by no means a sportscast; you don't look in the Bible to find out who won the Grey Cup in 800 BC or anything. But the apostle Paul, for example, uses the image of athletic competition in Philippians 3 when he says, “forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ.” Or 1 Cor 9:24-27, when he compares the discipline and practice of an elite athlete to the spiritual disciplines necessary for a mature Christian life.
Recently, a teenage boy asked me if the Bible ever talked about hunting, which I suppose is another kind of sport. The first answer that came to my mind was the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis 27. Now, the story is not about hunting, per se, but Esau's skills in bow-hunting are an important element of that narrative.
Join me this month, as we explore the Wide World of Sports – hockey, baseball, football, and more. If you miss a day, or if the sports fan in your life can't catch the devotionals on the radio, they will be available through the Anglican church office (call 3488) and I will also post them on YouTube.com each day, search for my username, PlaidEggnog.
Some of my inspiration comes from a book by John and Kathy Hillman, entitled “Devotions from the World of Sports” - a fine gift idea for the sports fan in need of a daily spiritual workout. We'll use these real-life sports moments to learn some lessons about how to grow in our faith and be better able to run the race that is before us.
After all, the Christian life is not a spectator-sport. God wants us to come down out of the bleachers, lace up our skates, grab a stick and get out on the ice, to live our faith actively, as part of his team. That's our challenge this month.
For St Patrick's Church, I'm Steve Page.