We are top of the league

Pentecost +22b – Sunday 28th October 2012
Mark 10: 46-52

I need to get this in. It might not last long. What am I saying??? Of course it will last. Continue believing. Have confidence. As Michael Jackson would say, “Keep the faith”.

Leicester City Football ClubDid you know that Leicester City are top of the Npower Football Championship? After a stuttering start, 5 wins and a draw has catapulted the East Midlands team to the top of the pile. As I write, fans are preparing for a home game against Brighton and Hove Albion, and are anticipating another 3 points as The Foxes are yet to drop a home point this season. It’s exciting times, and whilst it’s still early days if we can get to Christmas and still be there or there-abouts it will look very promising.

So I’m taking every opportunity to sing, “We are top of the league, I said we are top of the league.” Not to anyone in particular. Just randomly. An odd quiet moment in the office. Sat at the traffic lights in town. Waiting for the kettle to boil. I think they call it spontaneous joy!

And it can affect (and infect) every sphere of life. Have you ever seen the look of contentment on the face of a mum cradling her baby for the first time … or the pride and love on the face of a new dad? Have you seen the satisfaction of a child when they’ve been praised for good work, for tidying a bedroom or simply being a grandchild? When you’ve had a good day at work, your favourite song comes on the radio, good news is broadcast in the newspapers, you win the office sweepstake, you discover enough marmite in the pot for your piece of toast at breakfast, the sun is shining, there’s no traffic on the road, you get a phone call from someone you haven’t heard from in ages, or someone discovers that October is Pastor Appreciation Month and sends you a card – they all illicit spontaneous joy. What a great feeling.

Hey. I’m telling you, if anyone was filled with spontaneous joy it must have been Bartimaeus. You couldn’t keep this guy quiet before he met Jesus, I wonder what he was like after meeting Jesus???

Of course, the great skill here is staying top of the league. Leicester City have their work cut out. New parents come crashing down to earth with broken sleep and smelly nappies. I suspect even Bartimaeus had it tough adjusting to a very new way of life.

That is the message we must understand. We have to work very hard each and every day to be kingdom people, filled with the Holy Spirit, energised and excited by doing the work and will of God. Because not everyday is filled with spontaneous joy. For every day that things go right there often seems to be a day (a week, a month, a year???) when life is a real struggle. And not only do we have to work hard, things have to go our way too. Leicester City only went top of the league because Cardiff City lost their game … results went our way.

Life is random. It can be filled with spontaneous joy. It can be the grind of unrelenting grief. We need to meet Jesus at whatever stage of life we find ourselves in. And we need to be like Bartimaeus. I try to think of the most imaginative and eye-catching titles for my weekly blog, and sometimes I’m very jealous of other peoples witty or engaging headings. This week I like Richard Carl Hoefler’s intriguingly titled blog The Man Who Shouted So Loudly The Kingdom Came To Him. That sums up what we must be like. We need to call out to the Son of God. We need to hear Jesus say to us, “What can I do for you?” We need God to bring the kingdom to us.

Keep the faith. Keep believing. Keep striving. God’s kingdom is closer than ever we dared to dream. That top of the league feeling is here to stay.

Happy days

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About Neil Chappell

Husband, father, Congregational Minister and football fan all rolled into one convenient package.
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