How to watch the Rugby World Cup

65 (1).jpg

Have four years really passed since England’s humiliating exit from their own Rugby World Cup?

For me, watching rugby and godliness have gone together like toothpaste and orange juice. And that World Cup was no different.

26 September 2015. Wales v England at Twickenham. We have it set up on a big screen, with a group of Christian friends. Some English and some Welsh.

England fluff the opportunity to draw level in the last minute and Wales win.

I’m angry at “bad” (good) referee decisions. They gloat. I seethe. My evening is ruined. Relationships need mending.

A win for sin. And Wales, no less.

Should I give rugby a miss? How can I be patriotic but not partial? Competitive but not conceited? A fan but not a follower?

Here are three battles for Christians ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.  

#1 Lift your eyes from the screen

I hated it when my mum used to say, “it’s just a game.” But it is. When the game’s tense, lift your eyes from the screen for five seconds. 

What’s happening on the box is a tiny slice of God’s reality. And honestly? That friend next to you is a more important slice.

Have you asked how they’re doing?  

#2 Outdo one another in love

What if your friends are supporting the rivals? Outdo them in love (Romans 12:10). Be biased against your team.

Was it a try? “Probably not. Good call, ref.”

Be humble. Did they play better?  Deserve to win? See the game through their eyes. Empathy isn’t left at the pub door.

#3 Remember the bigger game

The Bible describes the Christian life like rugby’s sweat (1 Timothy 6:12). Let each scrum remind you of your daily battle with sin. Each tackle, life’s knocks.  

Let the winners remind you of the crown waiting for all who endure to the end (James 1:12).

And if these battles aren’t winnable? Maybe don’t watch.