Vicar's Letter for September 2020

Vicar’s Letter  (September 2020)


One thing I have really enjoyed over the past few weeks has been the return of sport to the TV and radio – particularly the cricket, but also football, and as I write this, athletics and snooker.


I think it’s the drama I have missed – that in sport we see something of human life played out in such a powerful way - and it’s not always the fastest, strongest, highest and toughest that have the greatest impact on us. Remember these? 

  • Eddie ‘the eagle’ Edwards – the ski jumper who could barely ski? 
  • Eric Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea in central Africa, the hero of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, who received a standing ovation after swimming 2 lengths of the Olympic pool in record slow time flapping like a hooked fish – he had learnt to swim in a crocodile infested river only a year before the games – he’d never even seen a 50-meter pool, let alone swum in one. 
  • And what about Derek Redmon who achieved every athlete’s dream by running in the British team at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.  Half way through the race he fell to the ground as a torn ligament left him writhing in agony.  The other runners raced past, his hopes and dreams of Olympic gold lying in tatters on the track beside him.  But then, amazingly, as the television cameras rolled and the crowd cheered, he picked himself up and tried to run on.  His legs buckled, and he had to slow to a walk but he kept going. Then the spectators saw a man come onto the track.  Security guards tried to stop him, but he was as determined as the runner.  He put his arms around Derek’s shoulder and encouraged him to keep going and finish the race.  The crowd roared its approval as the two of them crossed the finishing line. The man was Derek’s Father.


We remember these events and people because in them we see ourselves – our weakness, fallibility, short-comings – however much we may like to pretend, we are not superhuman.


My favorite passage in the bible comes from Luke 15 – the parable of the Prodigal Son.  Like the above sports stories it reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect to be loved –  God encourages, enfolds, and loves me even in failure.


In a world of winners and success driven hype, knowing such love is liberating – it draws out the best in one, however fast, high, or strong they might be.


Yours in Christ,