I’m afraid I have a confession to make. For many of you reading this I have joined the enemy.
On Saturday 24th of September I will take to the field as part of St Bedes III’s first 11 against Shadwell reserves.
Not only that but I’m adamant that my first home performance in goal for my Bradford based team will end in a clean sheet.
I actually played my first competitive match in four years last weekend, a hard fought 2-2 draw away to Ealandians III’s.
During the match I was stood on that exposed pitch the other side of Halifax, freezing cold and soaking wet and I thought
‘wow I’ve missed this’ a feeling that only intensified when I was later voted Man of the Match (although I suspect that
as the team had previously had no goalkeeper, that vote was as much about making sure I turned up next week as anything else).
It wasn’t just the match that I had missed though. I realised that I had missed being part of a team. The feeling of comradeship,
of being part of something bigger, of having a place to belong is both comforting and terrifying. comforting because you know
that you have others around you who feel the same as you and are looking to help you grow and develop and terrifying because
you know that such such bond will demand from you a serious commitment. Not, perhaps, unlike our sense of discipleship.
When God calls us and places us among his church he provides for us a community within which we may seek to deepen our faith
and understanding and to do so surrounded by people drawn together by the common bond of the love and grace of Christ. However,
our commitment to Christ cannot be half hearted. A God who gives much also demands much. The cost of discipleship is the
sacrifice of our lives, each day, into the service of our Lord and King. In reward we receive a life of fulfilment and an
opportunity to live out ‘Life in all it’s fullness’.
One of the discoveries i have made after 4 years out of the game is that football is certainly something that becomes easier the
more you do. After my first match I was aching considerably. After a couple of runs and some weight training this week I feel
in much better shape and hopefully the recovery after this Saturday should be shorter and considerably less painful. I’m
sure the more I train and prepare, the better I will preform and the better I will feel.
We are called to keep in shape spiritually too. the longer we spend in prayer and study the closer we will feel to God and
our spirituality will feel enriched.
By the time this article is printed the match against Shadwell will have long finished so Hopefully we’ll be 3 points better off!
whatever happens I’ll continue my training, hoping that I’ll keep improving. My spiritual training will, I hope, also keep
improving and i hope yours does too.