Sunday, June 22, 2014

A strength from beyond ourselves

Today at Highbury we shared in Hy-Speed's awards service.  Hy-Speed is our digital Scalextric club primarily for men and their children, though women are welcomed too!  During our services we presented the awards ... and heard the Christian story of a couple of the leaders at Hy-Tec.

As the service drew to a close I shared some thoughts going back to the other news of the week at the World Cup!

It was great to hear that thanks to the support we had received from among others Scalextric we had been able to 'plant' Hy-Speed at a Christian outdoor adventure centre in Devon and in Crediton Congregational Church too.

It always catches me out.

It did last week and to begin with I couldn’t get the hang of it.

As well as keeping a careful eye on your car as it hurtles round the track at Hy-Speed, negotiating those oh so tight bends: you also have to keep an eye on the controls in front of you on the big screen and in particular on the fuel gauge.

After a couple of laps I wondered why my car was slowing down and wouldn’t go the speed I wanted it to go – I glanced up at the screen to see the fuel gauge had dropped to the red zone.

I needed to call in to the pits to re-fuel.

That’s easier said than done as you have to plan ahead to make sure you are in the right lane in order to get into the pit lane.  It’s quite some challenge.  I missed it not once but twice.   And by the time I had got my mind in gear, let alone the car, the race was over and I was languishing in bottom place.

I determined to do better next time!

It’s one of those mind-blowing things about the digital scalextric track – the way the software works – wow.  Once you manage to get into the pit lane you press a button on the controller and you fill up with fuel.

In the next race I determined to do better.   I did.  I managed to get into the pit lane and fill up with fuel before the gauge went on to the red.  What happens then is even more surreal – the car comes out of the pit lane going marginally slower than it was doing just before going into the pit lane.  The reason?  The car is heavier with a full tank of fuel!   Come on … amazing software!  And great fun.

Two thoughts to hold on to for a moment there – the need even in model scalextric cars for fuel to keep them going.

And what it feels like to lose.

If a week is a long time in politics it is an even longer time in football.

Last week we celebrated with Daniel Sturridge his scoring a goal – and what a celebration.

He’s an interesting character who is quite open about his faith.  I tracked down an article in the Independent to celebrate that –

It’s common to find Sturridge using the hashtags #godislove and #godisgood after a Liverpool victory. When he reached a half-century of top flight goals at the beginning of February, the striker tweeted: “Thanks to God for allowing me to score 50 prem goals.”

He viewed the Bible as probably his most prized possession as another article reported …  It's important to me because I am very religious.  I believe that you have to pray, as well as work hard, in order to get what you want in life.  When I was growing up I prayed every morning and night - and I still do that today.

Then after winning a Barclays Player of the Month award back in September he tweated “I do all through Christ who strengthens me.”

That’s the quotation that caught my attention last week.

There’s all sorts of things you can draw from that.

I think I admire someone like him for being open about his faith – he is putting himself in a position where brick bats can be thrown at him.  But he touches on something very special in that particular comment.

Christianity is for me all about caring for others, having a love of other people; it’s about doing your part to shape the way things work be that in a family setting, in the community, in the work place, in the world of politics.

But there is another dimension to Christian faith – it offers us a strength from beyond ourselves to do things – a powerful thought.

Where do we draw on the strength we need to get through things?

A big question – and Christian faith has something to offer into any situation.

So what does Daniel Sturridge do when he loses?   Pretty gutted you suspect like everyone else.

I looked up the quotations.  It’s from the Bible.  It’s from a letter written by Paul from prison and the couple of sentences that lead up to the quotation are, I think, brilliant.  Maybe something for Daniel Sturridge to reflect on …

I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learnt this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. “I do all through Christ who strengthens me.”  Paul in Philippians chapter 4 verses 12-13

Put that into Daniel Sturridge’s context …

I know what it is to win or lose. I have learnt this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little, whether I win or lose: I do all through Christ who strengthens me.

Indeed he tweeted as much this week!

Mind you as Adrian pointed out ...

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