Football Teams & the Body of Christ

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

This is a very exciting time of year for football fans. If your team is still competing for a cup or a trophy, each match is more important than the last. If, on the other hand, your team has no chance of winning anything, and it seems as if the players have already turned their thoughts to the summer holidays, there is always transfer speculation to keep you interested. For it is a certainty that the team that finishes one season will not be identical to the team that starts the next. A football team is an example in miniature for the tendency of any body of people, sooner or later, to fly apart.

As Christians though, this dynamic does not apply to us. As Paul, in his letter to the Collosians, explains:

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Collosians 3:14-15

Unlike a football team then, God’s love binds together the whole Christian fellowship. This togetherness is illustrated in the next verse:

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Collosians 3:16

Origen, an early Christian theologian, imagined us not praying to Jesus, but Jesus praying within us. This connection with Him is allowed through the incarnation because it ties together His divine and human natures. Paul encourages us to let Christ’s word live within us and speak through us. This doesn’t only transform individuals but unites Christians in one voice. By allowing Jesus to take control of our prayer lives, we let Christ’s unifying presence shape His church.

But if we surrender our agency in prayer, how are we to ask for help in our difficult day-to-day decisions? Well, we are to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. This might be taken to mean we are simply to give Christ the final say. To come back to our football analogy, Christ is to be our referee, interpreting the rules and deciding between two opposing courses of action. So when we feel ourselves being pulled in two directions at once by conflicting feelings, we can simply trust Christ to decide for us. This simple course of action keeps His Church in His love and together in one body.  So here is a simple test we can apply: can we pursue any course of action in Christ’s name? If we can answer ‘yes’ we will not go far wrong.

The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.

Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.

We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.

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