Jesus Loves Soccer

Recently, I found a good life story (testimony) on the blog by Jeromy Johnson who is one the authors of Mending Shift http://mendingshift.wordpress.com/about-mending-shift/. I used his blog to share with the seniors during our Sunday fellowship yesterday. I choose “soccer” as the theme for it was the date of the Euro 2008 Final.  One senior said that we should cancel our programs and let the residents to watch soccer. I agreed with him, but we still provide activities for those with different interest. I also shared Jeromy’s blog with him. He just laughed and left. I invited my co-worker who is a coach of a junior soccer team to read it to the residents. She enjoyed the reading and resonate with the message. I hope that my co-worker will know more about how we practise our faith i.e. following Christ is Not the head knowledge, doctrine, Sunday worship, targeted evangelism, etc. but our daily walk with Jesus – love God and His people.  I am inspired by people like Ka & Jeromy who can integrate their faith in Christ with their leisure activities. I totally agree with Jeromy saying:

“The funny thing is this. We value our friendships so much that we are doing all we can to not let them become polluted by becoming marketers of our church, seeing our friends as holy-projects or people to win-to-Christ (as if they are prizes at a fair), or sinners to be fixed; but seeing them as God sees them…people whom he loves. We want to be human to them and we want them to remain human to us. We recognize that we have been given a precious and holy gift in these friendships. With this recognition comes a tremendous amount of fear and respect: we respect our friends deeply and we fear anything that might turn them away from us and the hope we have, Jesus. Our goal? To be friends.”

Here is Jeromy’s blog:

Soccer. The World loves it; America is learning to love it. I personally never liked it. For me, the few points earned require way too much running. So when my seven-year-old son approached me two years ago saying he wanted to play, I was less than enthusiastic. If soccer played at a professional level didn’t appeal to me, the thought of soccer at a five-year-old level repulsed me. In fact, some people have nicknamed this “level” of soccer, swarmball…the entire field of kids clamoring around one ball. But I must say, though I still do not particularly like soccer, I have grown to love it. I think Jesus does to.

In our lives, God has taken something as ordinary as soccer, two teams kicking around one ball, and made it holy. And isn’t that what he does? Make ordinary things, holy? You see, two years ago, the kids and parents on this soccer team were just faces to us. We were a group of individual strangers sitting in collapsible fabric chairs watching our individual kids, who happened to be playing on the same field with the other stranger’s kids, try to kick a ball. But something began to happen over time. We began to talk, laugh together about our kids, learn each other’s stories. The holiness of friendship began to invade the game.

We began to look forward to seeing our friends during practices and games. Our kids began to come over to each other’s houses. We ran into each other in Target and TJ’s. When baseball season rolled around, most of us signed up for the same team (which causes me to think that Jesus loves baseball too). Then we actually began to plan times where we could be in each other’s company, not just relying on the chance meetings and sports. Sometimes it would be coffee, or a walk, or dinner, or parties. And slowly, as the friendships deepened so did the level of sharing of our lives and our stories. God began to show up. Mysteriously, with great gentleness and respect, he began to invade our friendships. We felt, and feel, as if we were just watching God appear during conversations and our time together; we simply have to be open to what he was doing.

The funny thing is this. We value our friendships so much that we are doing all we can to not let them become polluted by becoming marketers of our church, seeing our friends as holy-projects or people to win-to-Christ (as if they are prizes at a fair), or sinners to be fixed; but seeing them as God sees them…people whom he loves. We want to be human to them and we want them to remain human to us. We recognize that we have been given a precious and holy gift in these friendships. With this recognition comes a tremendous amount of fear and respect: we respect our friends deeply and we fear anything that might turn them away from us and the hope we have, Jesus. Our goal? To be friends.

So that is why I love soccer, even though I do not like it. It is also why Jesus loves soccer…because he loves them, our friends.

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