Thought for the week 24th April – saving football or saving the planet?

The news this week has featured two big stories. On Monday it was the breakaway super-league; five of the top English clubs and Tottenham Hotspurs had agreed with clubs in Italy and Spain to form their own league in preference to playing in the UEFA Champion’s League. I could not quite see why it was necessary for leading politicians to drop everything to attend an emergency meeting of the Premiership, (the elite, breakaway league formed by the top 24 English clubs thirty years ago) and threaten changes in the law. However, I was equally unimpressed by the reason trotted out by the president of one of the Spanish clubs for forming the super-league; he said it was about “saving football”. As was pointed out by the Rev Sam Wells, that takes a strange view of what was to be saved in the name of football; twelve powerful European clubs and bad luck to Aston Villa, Kidderminster Harriers and everyone else. I am not sorry it has collapsed.

 

The language of being “saved” is often used in Christianity. I am sometimes uncomfortable with how it can be used in this context; again, an obsession with the individual and a narrow focus on belonging to an “in-club”. This is not how the early church understood Jesus’s message; they were quite clear that through Jesus, God was reaching out to all humanity. Which brings me to the second story; the “Earth Day” summit on Thursday, where President Biden led the way in pledging real action to reduce climate change, to “save” the planet; to save creation, using vicar-speak. And this ties in with another conviction of the early church; that through Jesus, God was not just reaching out to humanity but was embracing all the universe, the entire natural world. Of the two visions of salvation that we have been offered this week, I know which I think is cross-shaped.

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