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"God answers my prayers everywhere except on the golf-course."

Billy Graham


In a previous email in this series, I wrote: "If I were asked to sum up the message of the Bible in three words, I could hardly do better than "Creation, Fall, Redemption". I am grateful to the friend who emailed me to suggest that my three were incomplete and that a fourth needed to be added - glory.

A definition of worship as an activity that we practise on a Sunday morning between 10.30 and 11.30, mainly through singing "worship songs", is inadequate. Of course, corporate public worship is an important part of our spiritual lives. However, the biblical view of worship is a seven-days-a-week lifestyle activity, rather than requiring but one hour on a Sunday morning. This point is made clearly in Romans 12:1: "Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship."

We are to worship God and represent Christ all the time in all things. That is, everything in life is to be an act of worship to God. It is a million miles from the religion of "keep Sunday holy and do what you like the rest of the week". The Christian is to please God in everything, by doing it as if for God. That includes sport.

This thought is well encapsulated in the scene from the film Chariots of Fire, when Eric Liddell's thoughts as he runs are, "God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure." More and more Christians have come to see sport, played with the right attitude, as something that can bring pleasure to God.

Those twenty words from Chariots of Fire are very familiar but how many people know how the quotation continues? The full quotation is, "I believe God made me for a purpose - for China - but when I run I feel his pleasure and to give it up would be to hold him in contempt. To win is to honour him." In the second sentence, the idea is that not to use the talent he has been given would be to dishonour God.

Thus the full picture of sport is as part of God's creation, spoiled by sin, redeemed by Christ so that we can worship God in sport as in everything else.

Stuart Weir

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