Finding The Missing Peace

Monday, June 17, 2024


All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

It seems that sport and in particular football, namely soccer, has taken on the form of religion.  Someone once remarked that his local football club was his church and the manager was his god.  It is remarkable that chasing a ball around a pitch should bring about such great excitement but when all sport is analysed in its basic form it all seems absurd.  Years ago things were not taken quite so seriously and sometimes whole teams were reluctant to even turn up to play. 

In 1891 Blackburn Rovers were due to play Burnley but the pitch was covered with snow as it had snowed heavily for three hours before kick off.  Very few spectators had turned up and the Blackburn Rovers’ team did not really want to continue with the match.  In the first half they did not put in much effort and by half-time were down three nil.  The interval seemed to go on for much longer than usual but eventually the Blackburn Rovers’ team turned out but as they straggled onto the pitch there were only seven of them.  The others had decided not to bother.  Ten minutes later the Rovers’ captain created a violent incident and was sent off.  This led to the other Rovers’ players deciding to do the same and walked off the pitch. This just left their goalkeeper someone by the name of Mr Arthur who rather heroically stayed at his post.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

The referee who was named Mr Clegg waited to see if any Rovers’ players might return but after some minutes there was no sign of them and so play resumed.  The Burnley team bore down on the Rovers’ goal and it would come as no surprise that in no time at all the ball was in the back of the net.  The goalkeeper insisted that they were off side and that the goal should not have counted.  This seemed to be accepted by the referee but then he decided to abandon the game. The match that had started with selfish reluctance had ended in chaotic shambles.  

We might think this is an isolated example and restricted to the sports arena, but so often in life similar things occur.  We can too easily act selfishly wanting the best for ourselves and an easier life and using any method to obtain it.  We too often think of ourselves first, then we may have concern for our family or friends but more than that very few would bother and as for God so often He does not feature in our thoughts at all nor influence our behaviour.  Selfish reluctance to do anything that does not profit us can lead to a life which is unfulfilled and declines into oblivion.  

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

This is so different from the attitude of the Scottish athlete, Eric Liddell, a great sportsman who played rugby for Scotland and ran in the 1924 Olympic Games.  He was willing to sacrifice the opportunity to have a gold medal because principle was more important than status.  He wanted to honour God by obeying His commandments and so refused to run on a Sunday.  This caused consternation amongst the British team and organisers but he was insistent.  He would not compromise his Christian principles by running on a Sunday in his usual race.  Eventually a place was found for him to run in the 400 yards, which was run on a different day, and so he won his gold medal.  It was remarkable.  Later he went to China as a missionary and was interred by the Japanese where he died of a brain tumour in one of their camps.  The end was not sadness but glory.  He believed and every Christian also believes that in Christ death is not the end but the gateway to Heaven.  It is to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.  Liddell’s refusal to compromise principle revealed his true Christian faith.  He has been rewarded in the presence of God. May that be our blessing.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Written by PAUL YOUNG 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Father’s Day

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Father's Day is a relatively modern celebration compared with Mother's Day. It originated in the US by a woman called Sonora Louise Smart in Washington. After her mother died in childbirth with her sixth child, her dad brought up the family.

In 1909, Sonora heard a speech in church about Mother's Day and thought dads should also be celebrated. Several local clergymen accepted the idea and it is believed that 19 June 1910 was the first unofficial Father's Day.

In 1966, US President Lyndon B. Johnson decided the third Sunday in June should be Father's Day but it did not became official in the UK until 1972.

I especially want to acknowledge fathers today, or those who are like fathers to us - we hope that today is a very special day for you and for those who love you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Helping others!

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Everyone needs an uplift especially when things in life seem to be going wrong.  During the American Civil War Abraham Lincoln the President had many decisions to make and a lot of issues to deal with. There came a time when things were not going well for the Northern cause and many people were turning up at the White House with complaints or to give the leader every sort of advice on how he should act.  The pressure and stress upon the President was enormous.

One day a friend came to the White House named Billy Brown. He had grown up with Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois.  He approached  the entrance and was stopped by an aide who enquired whether he had an appointment to see the President.  In those more informal days Billy said that he had no appointment and that he didn’t actually need one as the President would be happy to see him without a previous arrangement.  The aide looked somewhat dubious but went in to the President and said that a Billy Brown was outside.  In about two minutes the aide returned and immediately behind him was President Abraham Lincoln.  He was so pleased to see his old friend and clasped his hand. Billy was then invited to stay for evening meal with the President and his wife Mary.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

Welcome to our liberators!

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"Welcome to our liberators!” The signs with that message were everywhere on that day in 1994 as my wife, my daughter, my father-in-law and I drove into Arramanche in France’s beautiful Normandy region on the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasions by the Allies against the Nazis. 

Today is the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the plan for the Allied invasion of France to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe, going into action and there are many good lessons to learn from it. Operation Overlord required the tremendous effort of 14 Allied nations of such ingenuity and surprise that the German forces were caught napping and outwitted. It was the largest amphibious force ever mustered in world history, which launched the greatest airborne assault across the English Channel followed by an amphibious landing on five beaches in Normandy, France. The ingenuity, boldness and daring of such a plan is acknowledged the more one studies and learns about it.

We, 80 years on are today facing as great a spiritual foe as the Allies faced in WWII. It needs nothing less than a co-ordinated effort using the masterplan of our Over-Lord to resist its advance. 
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