How to watch the Six Nations

In February we no longer come from the UK. We’re English. Or Welsh, Scottish or Irish.

The Six Nations are back.

For me, watching rugby and godliness have gone together like toothpaste and orange juice. One time stands out.

Wales v England, 2013. I’m in the pub with four Christian friends. Two English. Two Welsh. Wales demolish England 30-3.

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 godliness ahead of Saturday’s repeat fixture against Wales.  

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?  

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, maybe? See the game through their eyes. Empathy isn’t left at the pub door.

Remember the bigger game

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

Let Saturday’s winners, England or Wales,  remind you of the crown waiting for all who endure to the end (James 1:12).

And if these aren’t possible? Maybe don’t watch.