Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Thou shalt not play football on Easter Day

This is a great matter of theology. For it concerns the passion of the masses and the idols of many a bedroom wall. Football is the new religion, and the stadium is the church. But the new Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has started as he means to go on (or has he threatened to begin), by not courting popularity or seeking to defend that which his conscience does not permit.

And his first pronouncement since hearing of his elevation was not upon the importance of faith-based education, the abhorrence of abortion, the evil of chimeras, ‘saviour siblings’ or fatherless children, the undermining of the family, the parlous state of his church in England and Wales, or the ascendancy of ‘gay rights’ above religious liberty and freedom of speech.

No. The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols has decided to attack the heads of the Premier League and Setanta Sports for showing ‘disdain’ for the religious traditions of the United Kingdom, for disregarding the importance of Easter Sunday. And he criticises them for worshipping Mammon (profane ‘commercial considerations’) instead of honouring the sacred.

Sadly, there are no Eric Liddells in the world of football, and so passion for the beautiful game trumps the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. While His Eminence may desire that Easter Day ought to be football-free in order that the multitudes of faithful sheep may worship Christus Victor, he is not likely to receive a sympathetic hearing from this anti-Christian Labour government, and even less from those idolatrous goats who journey from the four corners of the kingdom to worship at the stadia and sing their hymns of triumph to the gods of the age.

Sunday is now a work day for many people but His Eminence has not seen fit to criticise Wimbledon for playing on the Lord’s Day (which is not the Sabbath day).

But Easter Sunday is different. It is not just another holiday; it is the pre-eminent Christian holy day and the busiest Sunday in the Church’s year.

It is, of course, too much to expect that the Archbishop of Canterbury might have said something upon the matter. He quite probably believes it to be a little like playing the National Lottery – simply a matter of competing fairly in the marketplace of gods in the hope that your god happens to win.

7 Comments:

Blogger Gnostic said...

Alas, Your Grace, it is a non-argument for me since I shall be found, as I am on any Sunday, basting the Sunday roast which is then shortly followed by my paying protesting homage to the chore of washing up.

No rest for the wicked, as they say.

8 April 2009 at 17:36  
Anonymous AeMuOT said...

Know this: When a cloud veils the Moon and casts a dark shadow across your heart, this is how the Lord moves through the fabrics of matter.

8 April 2009 at 17:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mixed messages

Sometimes, even when we face extreme and perilous danger, we continue to move towards the danger signs like a fragile sailboat thrashing around in a violent storm, 'honing' in on the beam of a solitary lighthouse. Like a helpless moth, the sailboat grasps each momentary lull and advances towards the the light. The lighthouse, determined in its mission, unrelentingly casts its light seaward. Yet its only message is, 'go away, do not come near me, there is danger here'.

8 April 2009 at 18:56  
Anonymous len said...

Football is the opiate of the masses!.
Most people are sleepwalking through this existence, it beats me how anyone ever gets saved!.
The god of this world( satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the Glory of Jesus Christ,who is the image of God, should not dawn on them (2Corinthians 4:4)

8 April 2009 at 19:54  
OpenID jobtwenteewun1to3 said...

Your Grace,

My father was a professional footballer in the late 50s and early 60s. As a young man he was brought up in a small Welsh Baptist chapel and would have rather died than ply his trade on a Sunday. Of course in those days the dilemma was not very real as football was played on a Saturday afternoon and on an evening in mid week [all for the maximum wage of £20 pw].

After his retirement he went into coaching a Welsh league team. This was in the mid 70s and as a young boy I would regularly go with him. I well recall the day he finally caved in to Sunday football, and travelled to coach his team. He was later that evening quite distraught at his actions and battled with guilt for quite some time afterwards. To the modern mind this tale will seem bizarre. It may read as a very quaint dilemma, yet my father would not have been unique in his agonies that Sunday. These were the days when shops did not open on a Sunday, when you could barely purchase a gallon of petrol even. In fact if you lived in Wales at that time, as we did and still do, there were certain parts of the country where you could not even purchase a pint of beer. There were ‘wet’ counties and ‘dry’ counties.

Your post struck me deeply and took me back to those days and it shocks me to think how much British society has ‘progressed’ since those days. We consider ourselves liberated by laws that allow us to shop when we want, watch rubbish 24 hrs per day on TV, drink as much as we want, when we want. We deem ourselves civilised when we cast off old fashioned restraints which were based upon ‘archaic’ religiosity and consider ourselves enlightened when we redefine morality in our own self serving images.

It is easy of course to don the ‘rose coloured’ spectacles and fondly recall yesteryear, yet it is patently clear that as a society we have discarded so much that appeared restrictive to us yet was manifestly designed for our own good, if only we would listen. The Sabbath was made for man and not vice versa as our saviour demonstrated, and whilst a theological debate may be held regarding the Sabbath v the Lord’s Day, I am sure all believers in Jesus would affirm that there was, and remains, much to be gained from a simple day of rest once per 7 days, dedicated to worship, reflection in the Word and Christian fellowship.

8 April 2009 at 20:56  
Anonymous not a machine said...

looking back your grace , i can see how we lost sunday as being the rest day of the lord.

of course it was promoted as free choice and ecnomic expansion, but what really happend was that sunday ceased to be special and so too the christian faith.

today we have a situation where even daily worship at school is being down graded.

people openly question it , like the modern rebel is compelled to do, in some ways there is only rebellion left standing , the reason for christianity hardly ever being discussed and framed as being a fall out over variants of a fairy story.

good friday is good because its day off , easter about chocolate eggs .

this is a very poor copy of the origonal which it seems no one wants to talk about for fear it would remind about constraint.

oh well i shall try and find god anyhow

9 April 2009 at 03:19  
Anonymous Joshua said...

I don't think that we, as humans, are doing anything quite so unusual in the eyes of God. But this is no excuse non the less, so watch it!

9 April 2009 at 10:21  

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